A 20-year-old mother was charged in the death of her 3-month-old baby. Could this tragedy have been prevented?
Formal first-degree murder charges were filed this week against Brittiany Nabors, 20, in the death of her baby. Nabors confessed that on Aug. 19, she was frustrated with the crying of 3-month-old Ja'Kori Nabors, her son. Investigators said she shook him and then "threw him down on the extended footrest of the couch."
Nabors said that when she threw her baby down, he struck metal bars along the footrest. And she says that was not the first time she had shaken the child. He later died as a result of his injuries.
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 the perpetrators is 24, and 82% 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 them in the air, bouncing them on the knee, placing them 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
• Broken bones
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 babysitting 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.