Along with warmer weather, April brings added attention to child abuse prevention. Because it's National Child Abuse Prevention Month, Peyton Manning Children's Hospital at St.Vincent is taking a full week to teach the community more about putting a stop to child abuse.
Even though you maintain a loving and nurturing home, you may still come in contact with children who are victims of abuse. Your child's friends, kids you encounter at work, children of family friends—any of these children could be struggling with abuse that goes undetected.
According to a study published by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in 2010, more than 1,700 children die each year as a result of child abuse. Children ages 4 and younger make up the largest portion in this group.
In many cases, child abuse occurs because parents don't know what to expect once they've had a child and succumb to the pressures of parenthood. Being a mom or dad is a tough job—but by becoming educated, discussing the trials and tribulations you've experienced as a parent, sharing your knowledge with others, and helping friends and family members realize they're not alone, you may save a child from a tragic act of abuse.
During the first week of April, the KidsHealthTip e-newsletter from Peyton Manning Children's Hospital at St.Vincent will cover Parenting tips for some common issues related to child abuse, including excessive crying in infants, toilet accidents, selecting an unprepared babysitter, backtalk and teen rebellion. You'll learn that it's normal to feel drained and stretched thin—but you'll also learn appropriate and healthy ways to overcome the situations you may face. Then, by sharing what you learn about child abuse prevention with friends and family, you'll be joining the team at Peyton Manning Children's Hospital at St.Vincent to put an end to child abuse.
To sign-up for the KidsHealthTip e-newsletter, visit KidsHealthLine.com – a new online health information resource for parents. And, if you know or suspect someone who may be abusing a child or you need to talk to a counselor about abuse in your own home, contact the Peyton Manning Children's Hospital at St. Vincent Child Protection Team at 317.338.3153.
Know the Signs
Knowing the signs and symptoms of child abuse are important to detecting child abuse. Dr. Shannon Coffey has provided a list of some of the most common effects or behaviors associated with physical abuse, neglect and sexual abuse.
• Unexplained bruises (in various stages of healing)
• Unexplained fractures, lacerations or abrasions
• Burns by cigarettes
• Evidence of delayed or inappropriate treatment for injuries
• Self-destructive or violent behavior
• Abnormal amount of absences
• Lack of supervision
• Regularly hungry/hoards food
• Poor hygiene
• Craves affection
• Physical or emotional delays
• Pain/swelling or bruising/bleeding of genital area
• Inappropriate sexual play or acting out
• High-risk behaviors
• Suicide attempts
• Emotional delays
If you suspect a child is being abused or neglected, call the Department of Child Services at 1-800-800-5556. Your call can be anonymous, and the hotline is open 24/7.