The Importance of recognizing child abuse at its earliest stages

American Academy of Pediatrics published its latest research for child abuse  and emphasized the significance of recognizing child abuse at its earliest stages.

Child abuse can lead to toxic stress in children, leading to major physical and mental health problems that can extend into adulthood. Child abuse is more than broken bones and bruise. While the most visible is the physical abuse, and the other types of abuse like emotional abuse and neglect, also leave deep scars. The earlier abused children obtain help, the bigger the chance of recovery and break the cycle rather than perpetuate it.

This new report could help educate pediatricians to identify the sign of abuse to prevent as much long-term damage as possible. It can make a big difference in a child’s life by learning about common signs of abuse and what you can do to intervene.

Child abuse can be extremely hard to recognize, particularly in babies and younger children. Injuries in these children are often mistakenly linked to accidental or sickness and may lead to additional harm.

Some signs of abuse that are identified by the clinical report are: a vague explanation for an injury; a denial of a clear injury; an explanation inconsistent with the observed injury pattern; a delay in seeking medical care after the injury was sustained; inconsistent reports of the cause of injury from different witnesses.

The general physical examination findings that consider the possibility of abuse include the following: injury to a young, pre-ambulatory infant, including bruises, mouth injuries, fractures and intracranial or abdominal injury; injuries to multiple organ systems; multiple injuries in different stages of healing; patterned injuries; injuries to unusual locations, such as face, neck, or upper arms; or any signs of injury in pre-ambulatory infants; and significant injuries that are unexplained.

The report also requests physicians to be cautious for head trauma in infants as well as skeletal injuries, and brain inflammation. Skeletal surveys and brain imaging can detect these.

The researchers also noted pediatricians are mandated to report suspected abuse to Child Protective Services (CPS). And will  continue to be an advocate for the child, helping to see that the child receives necessary follow-up services. Children with suspicious injuries may need to be hospitalized for assessment and treatment.




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