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Detecting Signs Of Abuse In Babies

A 24-year-old Virginia father is charged with felony child abuse of his infant son.


According to the arrest report, the baby was taken to a medical practice in January because of "sleeping, eating and crying issues." He was only 18 days at the time. The office staff became suspicious and decided to contact county authorities. The baby was then taken to a hospital where he was diagnosed with a skull fracture. Brad Zinn "Infant diagnosed with head injury, sheriff's office said" https://www.newsleader.com (Apr. 22, 2019).

Commentary and Checklist
 

In 2017, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services received 4.1 million child maltreatment referral reports. Of this total, child abuse reports involved 7.5 million children.

In the same year, 1,720 children died from abuse and neglect with 71.8 percent of all child fatalities younger than three.

Infants under 12 months are the most at risk of serious physical abuse, according to a large study of severely injured children published online in Emergency Medicine Journal. Because of the severity of the injuries, they are "three times more likely to die than children who have sustained other types of trauma."

It is difficult to determine if an infant is being abused because the baby cannot yet communicate what is happening to him or her. Because of an infant's fragility, he or she is more susceptible to injury from physical maltreatment compared to older children.

People who come in contact with children should be vigilant. Paying attention could save a child's life, just as the medical service's staff did in the source article when they reported their patient's condition to the authorities.

Some signs of abuse in infants are:

  • Brain or cranial injury usually caused by "shaken baby syndrome" (SBS)
  • Unexplained bruises or other marks on the skin
  • Burns
  • Bone fractures
  • Excessive crying
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Difficulty eating.
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