Babies or Young People with Possible Inflicted Head or Brain Injuries
This page refers to the internal head injuries in a baby or young child sustains from being violently shaken or thrown (previously known as 'shaken baby syndrome').
1.1 Various terms are in use to describe babies or young children with a possible inflicted head or brain injury. These include:
1.2 The above terms refer to the internal head injuries a baby or young child sustains from being violently shaken or thrown. This can cause a range of serious injuries to a baby or small child, which are often fatal. These injuries are mainly to the head but there may also be injuries to the body.
1.3 From a medical, social care and judicial perspective, the main interest is the consequence of any non-accidental injuries in terms of treatment, investigation, identifying who may be responsible and safeguarding the child and any siblings from further harm.
2. Initial Possible Signs
2.1 The child is in a collapsed state and presenting some or a combination of the following:
3. Child Protection Considerations for Hospital Staff
3.1 A history/explanation should be sought from the parents/carers
3.2 Account should also be taken of associated risk factors, which include:
3.3 If required, consultation should take place with the Named Doctor for Child Protection.
3.4 If at any point during the course of admission, examination, treatment or tests, etc, there is reason to suspect that the injuries to the child are non-accidental, an immediate referral is to be made to children’s social care, irrespective of the time or day. The referral should be followed in writing to children’s social care within 48 hours.
4. Children’s Social Care and Police
4.1 On receipt of a referral indicating that an infant or child is suffering from possible traumatic brain injury which appears to have a non-accidental cause, there must be immediate liaison between children’s social care and the Police Child Abuse Investigation Unit.
4.2 This is to be followed by a Strategy Meeting/Discussion which should include as a minimum:
4.3 Other relevant professionals should be involved as appropriate.
4.4 The referrer’s information should be available for the Strategy Meeting.
4.5 Where abuse is suspected, children’s social care and the Police will work jointly, with children’s social care undertaking a child protection enquiry (s47 enquiry) and the Police undertaking an investigation.
4.6 During the Strategy Meeting there is to be joint planning in relation to the children’s social care enquiry and the Police investigation. It is imperative that the immediate safety and welfare needs of any siblings or other children involved are also considered.
4.7 The Police will work to the ACPO guidelines.