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Infants with the triad (neurologic dysfunction, subdural hematoma [SDH], and retinal hemorrhage) are often diagnosed as victims of shaken baby syndrome. Medical conditions/predisposing factors to developing the triad are often dismissed: short falls, birth-related SDH that enlarges, macrocephaly, sinus/cortical vein thrombosis, and others. Six infants with the triad are described in which child abuse was diagnosed, but parents denied wrongdoing. All 6 had either macrocephaly or enlarging head circumference, which suggested medical explanations. Three infants incurred short falls, 1 had a difficult delivery in which there was likely a rebleed of a birth-related SDH, 1 had a spontaneous SDH associated with increased extra-axial fluid spaces, and 1 had a sinus thrombosis. Following legal proceedings, all 6 infants were returned to their parents, and there has been no child maltreatment in follow-up, suggesting child abuse never happened. The results indicate that alternative medical explanations for causing the triad should be considered and that macrocephaly or an enlarging head circumference raises the possibility of a medical explanation.


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