Four infants with the 'shaken infant syndrome' are described. None had skull fractures and only one had a subdural hematoma. All had extensive retinal and pre-retinal hemorrhages. Follow-up computerized tomography showed severe brain atrophy, multiple hypodense areas and ventricular enlargement. Three of the patients suffered severe, permanent brain damage, with mental retardation, spasticity and blindness. It is suggested that the underlying pathogenesis of this syndrome is acutely increased intrathoracic pressure, transmitted into the head to cause multiple venous infarctions. Retinal and pre-retinal hemorrhages are cardinal features of this syndrome and their presence should raise the suspicion of this form of battering in the absence of the 'classical' signs of battering.