Babysitters and Shaken Baby Syndrome

Those of you who follow shaken baby syndrome cases may have noticed, as I have, that SBS charges seem to fall disproportionately upon babysitters, including family members.  However, this is strictly an anecdotal observation on my part, and I have no real data to back it up. But just ask Audrey Edmunds.

I’m sure this is a consequence of being a “lone caregiver” with no other adult witnesses who would be able to testify that the babysitter never abused the child.  This is typical of SBS cases.  If a child dies and presents SBS (triad) symptoms, the last person alone with the child is “automatically” charged.

If you’re not aware, Sue Luttner maintains an extraordinarily good blog about SBS – OnSBS.com.  She has recently posted an article addressing the cases of five babysitters and their travails with the justice system and SBS charges – Mary Weaver, Kelly Kline, Ashley Howes, Suzanne Johnson, and Marina England.

Here is a link to that post:

http://onsbs.com/2013/04/08/old-cases-new-cases-sad-cases-true-cases/

3 responses to “Babysitters and Shaken Baby Syndrome

  1. Your hunch seems to be correct, Mr. Locke. I’ve seen no recent data, but a 1995 paper in the journal Pediatrics (Starling et al., “Abusive Head Trauma: The Relationship of Perpetrators to Their Victims,” Vol. 95, No. 2, February 1995) concluded that baby-sitters accounted for an astonishing 21 percent of the injuries. Most studies of physical abuse, excluding sexual abuse, attribute no more than 2 to 4 percent of the assaults to babysitters. The authors in 1995 concluded that babysitters “represent a significant group of perpetrators previously unrecognized.”
    Thank you for your interest in this important but difficult topic.

  2. Pingback: Shaken Baby Syndrome – Where Are We? – A Reality Check | Wrongful Convictions Blog

  3. Pingback: Shaken Baby Syndrome ……. Progress for True Science? | Wrongful Convictions Blog

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