Half of all reported poisonings occur in children under age 6.
Written by Jennifer Dean Durning, CPNP – Pentucket Medical Pediatrics
National Poison Prevention Week is a good time to review safety information regarding substances that can be harmful if they are used in the wrong way or by the wrong person. Poisons include common consumer products that are safe if used according to the directions on the label, but can be dangerous if used incorrectly. Common sources of poisonings that affect children are medications, household cleaners, alcohol, cosmetics, and plants. Continue reading “National Poison Prevention Week”
We are all aware, unfortunately, that some children experience violence and other maltreatment at the hands of those who should be caring for them. How can you help? Observe, trust your instincts that something seems wrong, and tell the appropriate people.
Most abusers are members of the child’s own family or household. Certain childhood behaviors are common triggers for abuse because they make parents feel frustrated. The most common trigger is crying, which is something all babies and children do, of course, but can easily frustrate caregivers who cannot determine what’s wrong nor how to help the child stop. Pediatric providers often counsel parents at well-child visits by describing behavior that is typical for their child’s age, because having realistic expectations for a child at each stage of development may help reduce the parents’ stress and therefore they can respond differently to the many challenging situations of parenting.
Possible signs of child abuse:
- Scars, burns, or bruises that occur in locations or patterns on the body that seem unusual or inconsistent with the explanation of how the injury occurred
- An injury for which the parent’s and child’s descriptions do not match, keep changing, or seem vague, or when the parent or child appears anxious about explaining
- An injury for which a parent’s description of events does not match a child’s physical or developmental capabilities
- Evidence of repeated injuries, such as multiple bruises that are in different stages of healing, especially on a body part that is typically covered by clothing
- An injury that took place because a child was left unsupervised
- A child who displays fear of a caregiver
What to do if you suspect abuse:
If you notice any of the above signs, you do not need further “proof” that your suspicion is correct before taking action. You may report your concern to the Child-At-Risk hotline at 1-800-792-5200. (This report is confidential, so you will not be identified as the reporter in the process of investigating the family, and you will not be informed of the outcome.) You provide whatever information you have and a representative from the Department of Children and Families office that serves the child’s area will start evaluating the situation to determine what resources the child and family might need.