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How Common Is Shaken Baby Syndrome?

It is estimated that around 250 children die every year from Shaken Baby Syndrome (SBS). According to the NSPCC, the UK’s leading charitable voice on the subject of child protection, one in 3,000 babies under six months old in the UK suffers from an inflicted brain injury or brain bleed. Non-accidental head injury is alleged to be the most common cause of fatal child abuse.

In pretty much all such cases, the finger of blame is pointed at the parents or other carers of the child. As a result families are facing allegations by police and social services of inflicting non-accidental injuries.  These cases require the instruction of experienced lawyers who can advise on both the police and social services investigation and advice should be sought urgently.

A False Allegation

A year ago, one family’s life was almost ripped apart when several family members found themselves implicated in a case of SBS. Thankfully expert legal advice and representation brought about a happy ending for this falsely accused family, but not before the children spent a significant amount of time in foster care.

On Valentine’s weekend last year, the mother and her boyfriend, and subsequently her own mother, were all named as possible perpetrators of a potentially fatal head injury to the youngest child. He was admitted to hospital in a coma and found to have two of the three key indicators of Shaken Baby Syndrome – bleeding and swelling in the brain and retinal bleeding in the eyes. Emergency surgery saved his life.


In the subsequent investigation, evidence emerged of a child prone to accidents and of a number of incidents in the week before his collapse that could have caused his head injury. During this time his mother, her boyfriend and her mother had all looked after the child and his brother.

Edward Hayes’ Specialist Family Law Team

The Family Law Team, successfully represented the Grandmother, proving that the child was not in her care when the injury was sustained but further that the medical evidence did not support a non-accidental injury in any event, and the case against all three accused was eventually dismissed and the children returned home to the family.

Just a few months later, the Family Law Team again successfully represented a mother accused of the non-accidental injury of her baby. We were able to criticise the initial investigation by the hospital and social services, instructed Paul Storey QC and eminent independent experts and the baby was eventually returned to his mother but not before the parents’ relationship had suffered irreparable damage due to the stress of the case.

“In cases of alleged non-accidental injury/shaken baby syndrome families will face an incredibly daunting legal process and it is vital to get expert legal advice as soon as possible,” says the Family Law Team. “Otherwise the consequences for the children and their families can be devastating.”

Edward Hayes’ family law and false accusation experts regularly represent parents and others in both the family and criminal courts. We cover cases across the country, instruct the most experienced barristers and Queen’s Counsel and eminent independent medical experts.  We can be contacted 24 hours a day on 01243 781431 (during office hours) or 0800 085 9684 out of hours or via email


Image Credit: CreativeCommons

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