Is race or ethnicity a predictive factor in Shaken Baby Syndrome?

Child Abuse Negl. 2000 Sep;24(9):1241-6. doi: 10.1016/s0145-2134(00)00177-0.


Objective: Previous studies have concluded that shaken baby syndrome occurs more often among Whites than among Blacks. The purpose of this study was to determine whether race is a predictive factor in Shaken Baby Syndrome when population and referral patterns are considered.

Methods: A retrospective medical record review of closed head injuries due to child abuse during the time period January 1992 to July 1997 was conducted at three pediatric tertiary care medical centers in North Carolina. Patients included children, ages 0-4 years, identified from medical record reviews and child abuse databases. Only North Carolina residents were included. The specific rates of shaken baby syndrome in Whites versus non-Whites in the referral area were computed.

Results: The difference in the rate of shaken baby syndrome from the referral area was not statistically significant among Whites versus non-Whites (26.7/100,000 versus 38.6/100,000, p = .089) Most of the perpetrators were male (68%), and most victims (76%), lived with their mothers and biologic father or mother's boyfriend.

Conclusion: Race was not a significant factor in predicting shaken baby syndrome in the referral area studied, and therefore is not a useful factor in targeting groups for intervention.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Child, Preschool
  • Ethnic Groups / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • North Carolina / epidemiology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Whiplash Injuries / epidemiology*