Brain damage is said to occur when an injury causes the destruction of human brain cells. In babies, it is commonly caused by a lack of oxygen to the brain. It is pertinent to point out however, that a baby’s delicate brain might come to harm either during pregnancy itself, during the delivery process or due to manhandling the newborn.
Engaging in any of the activities below might damage your newborn’s delicate brain and so should be avoided;
Limiting Air Supply
- Put away the pillows as brain damage can occur when you deprive your infant of an adequate supply of life giving air. Brain damage caused by lack of oxygen can be categorised either as, Anoxia or Hypoxia, both can lead to cerebral palsy and other medical conditions.
- Anoxia: This occurs when the infant is put in a situation where she totally lacks oxygen; this can lead to severe brain damage and if it goes on for an extended period, might lead to death.
- Hypoxia: Occurs when the infant is deprived of the adequate amount of oxygen; it may lead to a mild form of brain damage.
Not Treating Extreme Jaundice in Good Time
There is a common misconception among parents that jaundice in a baby is a minor health issue. This is not true as extreme jaundice, when left untreated, may put the infant at risk of developing ‘kernicterus’ a type of brain damage that develops due to severe cases of jaundice.
Child Abuse Leading to Head Trauma
While this may not be reported in Nigeria as frequently and in detail unlike the western countries which take child abuse cases seriously, the fact remains that there are people in the Nigerian society who do hurt babies; either knowingly or unknowingly. Assault on a child as a result of child abuse leading to an inflicted traumatic brain injury is commonly known as the ‘shaken baby syndrome’.
Shaken Baby Syndrome: This can happen through the following ways;
- Direct blows to the head of a baby or hitting baby’s head against a hard surface.
- Dropping or throwing a child.
- Vigorously shaking a child out of anger or in frustration.
- Frequently allowing your baby fall from a high position.
The structure of infants makes them vulnerable to particular risk and injuries from any of the actions listed above. The majority of children who experience the shaken baby syndrome are not up to one year although it may occur in children from age 0 to 5 years. Head trauma is the leading cause of death in child abuse cases in the United States. The average age of victims is said to be between 3 and 8 months.
While parents nourish and engage their children in activities that boost their intelligence; it is also important that they should be careful in handling them physically because the brain and other organs of the baby are still delicate.