Jordan Gribble / The Houma Courier
HOUMA, La. -- If a critically injured Houma baby survives, the child could be disabled for life, according to the National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome.
The 1-month-old boy who was attacked by his 19-year-old mother Tuesday morning is being treated at Children's Hospital in New Orleans for skull fractures and extensive internal brain bleeding, Terrebonne sheriff's Maj. Malcom Wolfe.
"His condition hasn't changed since they brought him in," Wolfe said. "He's still very critical."
About 30 of 1,200-1,400 victims of Shaken Baby Syndrome die annually in the U.S., said Amy Wicks, National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome spokeswoman.
"This sounds like a pretty typical case, but each case is unique," Wicks said. "We know of children that were on the verge of death that survived, and we know of children that died almost immediately after being attacked. It's hard to say what will happen. But if a baby does survive Shaken Baby Syndrome, they'll likely have a lifetime of dealing with disabilities."
Shaken Baby Syndrome is a form of head and brain trauma caused by violently shaking a child by the shoulders, arms or legs, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The trauma can result from shaking or in combination with impact against a solid object.
The baby was breathing but unconscious when he was taken from Terrebonne General Medical Center to the New Orleans hospital Tuesday night, Sheriff Jerry Larpenter said.
His mother, Tina Simpson, 1301 Bourg St., admitted to shaking the baby and throwing him at his bassinet Tuesday morning at his father's North Bayou Black Drive home. Family members called 911 about 8:30 p.m. Tuesday and said the boy had suffered a seizure.
The baby's family won't be charged for implying that the baby's condition was the result of something other than the attack, Wolfe said.
Simpson told detectives the baby's incessant crying was the reason for the attack, Larpenter said.
It's not unusual to see an attack of this nature by a young parent, Wicks said.
"Anyone in a position of caring for a baby can be the perpetrator in Shaken Baby Syndrome. But we often see perpetrators that are young mothers," Wicks said. "The lack of a support system to help them, a lack of maturity and resources to help with the challenges of caring for an infant are all reasons behind these attacks."
Boys are at slightly higher risk of Shaken Baby Syndrome, Wicks said.
"It may be due to unrealistic expectations that caregivers have on their babies," she said. "It might be that there's something that male babies do that trigger more frustration in caregivers than female babies do. Whatever the case, we do see slightly higher numbers of cases with male victims."
Simpson was jailed on a charge of attempted second-degree murder and faces 10-50 years in prison if convicted.
The charge would be upgraded, likely to second-degree murder, if the boy doesn't survive, prosecutors said. Second-degree murder is the charge used in instances when death results, but the suspect didn't intend to kill the victim.
During a hearing Thursday morning a judge set a $500,000 bond for Simpson, Wolfe said.