DID YOU KNOW THAT you could maim or kill a child by vigorously shaking him or her?
You probably didn’t know, abi?
In this part of the world, child abuse is very common. When we were kids growing up, many of us were used to being whipped, caned, flogged, bashed, and jerked around by our parents, relatives or other caregivers as a disciplinary measure when we stepped out of line.
Personally, my papa beat me wella. 😁😁😁😁
And me no come dey hear word. Dat man na Iron Man cos if he hit you once with his bare hands, my brother, you’ll cry for 6 weeks.
Adirokwa asi ndo! 😃
I’m sure most of us had similar experiences. And now somehow we have come to accept it as a normal part of growing up in a typical “African home”.
While that much is very common, an increasing amount of caregivers unwittingly cause the death of the own kids by vigorously shaking them, especially because the caregivers or parents are angry or frustrated by the child’s crying or behavior.
This results in a very fatal medical condition known as SHAKEN BABY SYNDROME (SBS) also known as ABUSIVE HEAD TRAUMA.
It is commoner in children less than 2 years old, and can even occur in those less than 5 years old. At special risk for abuse are children who have a lot of special needs or health problems that make them cry a lot.
According to Kidshealth.org, SBS arises when an older person, usually a parent or caregiver:
~ Uses force to shake a child
~ Uses force to throw or drop a child on purpose
~ Hits the child’s head or neck against an object, like the floor or furniture, or hits the child’s head or neck with an object
You feel like you’re Indaboski Pahose and you’re doing your child smack down. You could end up killing your own child.
SBS happens because:
~ Infants have poor neck strength and their heads are large compared with the size of their bodies. This lets the head move around a lot when shaken.
~ When the head moves around, the baby or child’s brain moves back and forth inside the skull. This can tear blood vessels and nerves inside the brain, causing bleeding and nerve damage.
~ The brain may hit against the inside of the skull, causing brain bruising and bleeding on the outside of the brain.
~ Brain swelling builds pressure in the skull. This pressure makes it hard for blood, carrying oxygen and nutrients, to reach the brain, further harming it. There could be bleeding into the retina (back of the eyes)
Children who have suffered SBS might have
~ Inconsolable crying
~ Blue skin or lips
~ Inability to move the body or lift the head
~ Inability to suck breast or eat
Down the line, as the disease worsens, the child could have blindness, hearing problems, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, problems with learning, etc. In many cases, it could result in death.
If that child eventually dies, wetin you go tell your God, biko?
Therefore, consider this the 11TH COMMANDMENT: “Thou shall not shake thy child vigorously out of anger or frustration. If thou doest that and the child dieth, its blood would be upon thy head.”
If you like be forming African parent and strict disciplinarian, you’re on your own.
+++Impossibility is nothing. Just believe+++
© Caséy Amaefule ’20