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Baby Died Because He Cried

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His father pleaded guilty Thursday to killing the infant by violently shaking him.

baby_died.jpg

Camryn Jakeb Wilson was Summit County, Ohio's 2008 New Year's baby, born 12:33 AM on January 1, 2008. Twelve weeks later, on March 12, he was dead -- the victim of shaken baby syndrome.

Craig Wilson, 29, confessed to police that he was frustrated after an argument with his wife over his ex-girlfriend and a child he had with her. He shook and squeezed Camryn before laying him in the swing but hadn't intended to hurt the infant, he told police. He pleaded guilty Thursday to killing the infant by violently shaking him, and was sentenced to 15 years to life.

The National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome estimates as many as 1,400 babies annually are injured or killed by shaking, CNN reports. According to the center, 70% to 79% of people convicted of killing or hurting babies are men. The average age of perpetrators is 24, and 82 percent are either the parent of the victim or the live-in boyfriend of the mother.

According to the National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome, activities involving an infant or a child such as tossing in the air, bouncing on the knee, placing a child in an infant swing or jogging with them in a backpack do not cause the brain, bone, and eye injuries characteristic of shaken baby syndrome.

Violently shaking an infant for just a few seconds can cause:
• Brain injury leading to paralysis
• Mild to severe cognitive impairment
• Cerebral palsy
• Blindness
• Broken bones
• Death

How can such a tragedy be prevented?

Dealing with a crying baby can be beyond frustrating, especially if an infant has colic. Here are ways you can deal, courtesy of the Mayo Clinic.

  • Keep your perspective. You're not failing your baby or being lazy if you can't stop a crying spell. Sometimes babies simply need to cry.
  • Slow down. Take a deep breath and count to 10. Repeat a calm word or phrase, such as, "Take it easy."
  • Use your imagination. Take your mind off the crying by picturing yourself in a calm, relaxing place. Play soothing music in the background.
  • Take a break. If you're alone, put your baby in a safe place, such as the crib or bassinet. Let your baby cry while you take a few minutes to regroup in another room.
  • Ask for help. Let your spouse or another loved one take over for a while. Take advantage of baby-sitting offers from friends, neighbors or other close contacts.
  • Express your emotions. When you're getting frustrated, speak up. Saying the words out loud--either to yourself or to an understanding friend or loved one--can help ease the tension.
  • Take a walk. Put your baby in the stroller and take a brisk walk. The exertion may take your mind off the tears. If it's too cold for an outdoor stroll, walk laps in a local shopping mall or other indoor spot. You might even buckle the baby into his or her car seat and take a short drive.
  • Sleep when your baby sleeps. Sleep deprivation may only make it harder to cope with a crying baby.
  • Recognize your limits. If you're worried about your ability to cope with a crying baby, contact your doctor, a local crisis intervention service or a mental health help line for support. Post a crisis number on the refrigerator or in another visible spot.

Our thoughts go out to Camryn's mother in this tragic time.


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6 comments so far | Post a comment now
Anne March 13, 2009, 10:56 PM

I never understood these events until we had our second child, who had severe colic. That kid woke up and screamed every two hours around the clock for five months. He was inconsolable, I had no support system and was sleep deprived until I was nearly insane. Luckily, I never hurt him, but after that, I could see how it might happen. So sad.

Mufinmom March 14, 2009, 9:56 AM

There is NO reason or excuse to ever shake and squeeze an infant. Not even for a few seconds. There is NO understanding how it might happen other than wrong action on the part of the
one doing the shaking. What kind of society have we become where a supposed adult, in frustration after a fight with the mother shakes and squeezes HIS OWN helpless flesh and blood? I went through the time period where my own first born cried and screamed inconsoleably. You stifle SELF
and do everything you can FOR the child.
Even despite sleep deprivation. I had NO support system of extended family or grandparents who could help. When feeling close to insane from lack of sleep, I called a neighbor to help with the baby. I would
have called a help line if need be.
They tell you that in the hospital for
the child’s sake!

debbie March 14, 2009, 1:38 PM

i was 21 when i had my first child i was all alone and my son had very bad colic i tried to go back to work but i could not find any one to watch him not even family my sister tried two watch him but after one week she wanted to shake him that is how bad he was but i got through it just count to 10 or walk away for few min it does work he is 18 now and he still crys if u cant handel a child and all that goes with them then dont have any after him i had 3 more every baby is different i cried when i found out i was having my second one but she was a great baby she never cried to all the moms and dads just take a deep breath it does get better

Anonymous March 15, 2009, 4:12 AM

Maybe this happened because men get more frustrated when they can’t “fix” something, like being able to stop the brain-drilling scream of an infant? There really is nothing quite like it, especially when nothing you try makes a difference, and you can’t remember the last time you had any sleep, or any reprieve. Yes, indeed, it is so important to take a break, get a good sitter, and get away, preferably for several hours. And keep to the hope that this too shall pass, and with some wisdom and luck, you will soon be the parent of a delightful toddler.

Dyani March 18, 2009, 5:31 PM

This is so sad. Everytime I read stories about parents killing their child/children makes me cry.

eivai April 3, 2011, 2:49 AM

Hi, thank you for your post, it helped me a lot figuring out many things.


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