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- The ARC - California Edition -

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Don't Shake or Toss Your Baby

Be Gentle!

Infants and young children have heavy heads and weak necks. When children are tossed or when their heads are shaken, their brains can be bounced and bruised against the skull.

Bruises and bleeding in the brain can cause blindness, mental retardation, seizures and other problems. The neck and spinal cord can be damaged also. These injuries occur most often in babies; but even children up to age six can be harmed.

Many parents do not realize how quickly or easily they can injure a child by tossing or shaking. These injuries can be serious enough to cause life-long disabilities or even death!

When you hold your small child . . .

-- Be gentle. Always support babyís head and neck. Do not wiggle or bounce an infantís head.

-- Donít toss your little one in the air or hold your child high above your head. Donít play "horsey-ride" by bouncing the child on your extended foot.

-- Never lift an infant or child by his head.

-- Do not allow well-meaning relatives or friends to toss your child during play.

Be Careful!

When you are angry with your child . . .

When baby cries, the sound can be irritating. When pressures build up, some people feel angry.

Sometimes people grab or shake a child when they are angry. Although they do not mean to hurt the child, the results can cause severe, life-long injury.

-- If you are upset, calm down before dealing with your child. Put your child in a safe place (like a crib) and then take a few minutes to do something for yourself that will help you feel more relaxed and in control.

-- If you donít feel in control in a few minutes, call a friend, family member, or neighbor.

A child with any of the following signs needs medical attention. Please call a doctor, clinic or emergency room at once.

-- Child unable to lift or turn head
-- Head turned to one side
-- Pupils dilated or pinpoint
-- Pupils not reacting to light
-- Blood spots or pooling in eyes
-- Seizures or spasm
-- Nausea or vomiting
-- Breathing problems
-- Semi-conscious
-- Swollen Head


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