Encyclopedia of Clinical Neuropsychology

2018 Edition
| Editors: Jeffrey S. Kreutzer, John DeLuca, Bruce Caplan

Abusive Head Trauma

  • Jennifer Ann Niskala AppsEmail author
  • Amy Heffelfinger
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-57111-9_1594


Inflicted childhood neurotrauma; Nonaccidental or inflicted traumatic brain injury; Pediatric abusive head trauma; Shaken baby syndrome

Short Description or Definition

Pediatric abusive head trauma (AHT) is a form of inflicted traumatic brain injury in an infant or small child due to blunt trauma, being shaken, or a combination of both. Rapid rotation and movement, acceleration and deceleration changes, of the brain within the cranial vault of a small child result in significant neural trauma. The National Center for Injury Prevention and Control defines pediatric abusive head trauma as “an injury to the skull or intracranial contents of an infant or young child (<5 years of age) due to inflicted blunt impact and/or violent shaking.” This definition excludes unintentional injuries and penetrating trauma (Parks et al. 2012).


A form of child maltreatment or abuse, AHT occurs as a result of a baby’s weak neck muscles in relation to its proportionally large head...

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References and Readings

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  12. Shaken Baby Association, Inc. www.shakenbaby.net
  13. The National Center on SBS. www.dontshake.org

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine, Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin/Medical College of WisconsinMilwaukeeUSA
  2. 2.Medical College of WisconsinMilwaukeeUSA