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October 2021

Child Abuse Negl. 1998 Feb; 22(2): 117-27.

Folk remedies and child abuse: a review with emphasis on caida de mollera and its relationship to shaken baby syndrome.

Hansen KK.

University of Utah, Department of Pediatrics, Salt Lake City, USA.

OBJECTIVE: There were two objectives: first, to make the reader familiar with folk remedies that might be confused with child abuse; second, to challenge the idea existing in the literature that treatment for the Hispanic folk illness caida de mollera can cause the injuries seen in the shaken baby syndrome. METHOD: Literature review and analysis with case application were used. RESULTS: A wide variety of folk remedies with potential for confusion with child abuse were found to exist, and were described. Treatment for caida de mollera was found to consist of a number of gentle, nonviolent maneuvers quite different from the violent shaking believed to cause shaken baby syndrome. CONCLUSIONS: Familiarity with folk remedies will help differentiate them from child abuse. The child protection community would benefit from realizing that treatment for caida de mollera is an improbable cause of shaken baby syndrome injuries.

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