3 Warning Signs for Daycare & Babysitting Abuse

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

If you trust someone to watch your children while you work or spend childfree time with your partner or friends, you need to know the signs of abuse. Some caregivers abuse the children in their care or do not offer the level of supervision you expect. Consider some of the following warning signs of child abuse and be sure to investigate immediately if you suspect a caregiver, daycare employee, or babysitter has abused your child. Remember that Texas law requires anyone who suspects or witnesses child abuse of any kind to report it to the authorities immediately.

Regressive Behavior

Children are remarkably resilient, but they typically do not process trauma in the same way adults do. Many children respond to trauma by mentally blocking it out or replacing it with something that makes sense to them, such as an imaginary monster taking the place of a real-world abuser. Victims of child abuse tend to process trauma in unpredictable ways, and regressive behaviors are common signs a child has endured some form of abuse.

  • A potty-trained child who consistently sleeps through the night without wetting the bed may start having bedwetting incidents following abuse.
  • Sucking thumbs, cuddling with a baby blanket, or otherwise reverting to younger behavior should be a major red flag for any parent. This is often a coping mechanism for younger children who cannot psychologically process abuse the way an adult can.
  • A child abused at daycare or by a babysitter may start lashing out in other ways, such as protesting going to school or going to bed on time.

Any noticeable changes in your child’s behavior require investigation.

Physical Signs of Abuse

Your child will likely have many cuts and scrapes growing up, just as any child would from playing outside and roughhousing with friends, but these are explainable and reasonable injuries in most cases. If you notice any injuries that your child cannot explain or seems to avoid talking about, consider this a major red flag.

  • Check for bruising that looks like finger marks, a sign that a caregiver may have mishandled or directly abused your child in some way.
  • If your child suffers an injury at a daycare, there should be an incident report on record. If the injury happened while in the care of a babysitter or nanny, expect a thorough explanation.
  • Any type of injury or bleeding around the genitals or rectum is a major indicator of sexual abuse. Contact the police immediately and seek medical treatment for your child for a diagnosis of his or her condition.

Marked Changes in Behavior

Just as children sometimes regress to acting younger than their current ages, they may also process trauma by acting out in unpredictable or even dangerous ways.

  • An abused child may start abusing or bullying others.
  • A child who previously performed well in school and consistently good behavior may start neglecting schoolwork or acting out in the classroom.
  • An abused child may start getting physical with parents or refuse personal contact.

It is vital to discuss these changes with your child and let him or her know you can help. Encourage an open conversation and be receptive to your child’s feelings. Many children suffer abuse and do not know how to handle it or how to ask for help. If you are argumentative or doubtful of what your child tells you, the results can be devastating. If a child believes no one will help this can cause severe psychological trauma and allow the abuse to continue unabated.
If you notice any of these signs of abuse with your child, it is crucial to investigate them immediately. This is especially true if your child hates going to school or daycare or protests when a certain babysitter comes to watch him or her; the child may be acting out of fear but does not know how to articulate the problem.

Posted by Aaron Herbert at 2:14 pm

Finding a Safe and Appropriate Toy for My Child

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Today’s children have more choices for entertainment than any other generation in history, and parents can easily feel overwhelmed at the sheer number of kids’ toys available. It’s vital for parents to carefully consider their choices to find safe and age-appropriate toys for their kids. Some toys are only acceptable for older children, while specially designed toys are safe for infants and toddlers. Parents must take age recommendations into account when purchasing toys for their children, as well as a few other factors.

Tips for Young Children’s Toys

Parents should look for age recommendations when shopping for children’s toys. For example, a toy manufacturer may list a stuffed bear as acceptable for ages 6 months and up, while a building set with small parts may have an age range of 3 years and up. These are important guidelines, because certain toys can pose a risk to younger children, particularly when it comes to choking hazards.
Many older children’s toys like LEGO sets, action figures, and dollhouses include small parts that are dangerous for infants and toddlers. It’s important for families with children of varying ages to keep the toys separate. Babies and toddlers are naturally curious, and toddlers have a habit of putting everything they can find into their mouths, so choking is a very real danger for many kids’ toys. A good rule of thumb: Start with larger toys and move to smaller toys as the child grows older.
Check product reviews before purchasing any toys. Most parents are critical of children’s products, so you are sure to find a wealth of product reviews online for any given child’s toy. Check the manufacturer’s website for product ratings and be sure to do an internet search for reviews on third-party sites such as Google and Amazon. Read the reviews carefully to see if parents with children around your child’s age had anything to say about a particular toy. Age-appropriate toys are important, but quality also matters. Poorly made toys that break and don’t hold up to wear and tear can injure children.

Toys for Older Children

Children about 10 years or older will generally prefer more complex toys than younger kids, and parents should carefully review these toys before purchasing them. For example, chemistry sets or any play sets that involve mixing chemicals or making food could include toxic substances or heat sources that can cause serious burns. Make sure that any such toys you buy for a child do not include flammable or corrosive substances.
Older kids also tend to prefer electronic toys, and parents should make sure they only buy high-quality products. Make sure any electronic game system, tablet, or other electronic device is a legitimate product with UL approval, meaning the product meets acceptable safety standards for electronics. “Knockoff” or counterfeit electronics are common and parents should avoid them. Cheaply made imitations of larger manufacturers’ products generally don’t meet the same levels of quality and safety as the originals.
Ultimately, parents need to take the ages of their children into account as well as their children’s ability to understand how to play with toys appropriately. It’s also vital to consider the child’s changing interests and needs at various stages of growth. Do your research before making a purchase, supervise your child while playing, and be sure your child understands how a toy works to have the best chances of avoiding injuries.

Posted by Aaron Herbert at 4:04 pm

What Are Some Tips to Prevent Stroller Injuries to Children?

Wednesday, September 21, 2016
Although stroller and other child safety technologies have advanced over the years, they are still not 100% safe in every situation. During a five-year study, there were an estimated 64,373 stroller-related injuries to children three years old and younger. In the study, 70% of children came to hospitals for stroller-related head traumas. Stroller injuries are unfortunately common, particularly in the first year of a child’s life. Learn how to prevent stroller injuries, and help ensure your child does not become a statistic.

Choose Your Stroller Wisely

Stroller safety begins with buying the right stroller for your child. There are a variety of stroller designs available to parents today, each with its own pros and cons. When looking for strollers for your baby, consider where you will be using the device. If you live in a city, for example, you will need one that can maneuver along sidewalks and collapse to fit onto a bus or subway. In more rural locations, you may need a more durable stroller for dirt roads that can fold to fit inside your vehicle’s trunk. Also, think about when you will be using the stroller. There are special strollers designed for jogging, for instance. Your child’s age is a major consideration when choosing a stroller. A newborn needs a stroller that reclines, since newborns cannot sit up or support the weight of their heads. Some strollers work with a bassinet attachment or infant car seat. Jogging strollers and umbrella strollers typically are not meant for newborns younger than six months old, as they do not provide adequate head support. If your baby has special needs, the stroller needs storage for any necessary equipment.

Check Your Stroller’s Brakes

A stroller rolling into traffic is a parent’s worst nightmare. Help prevent this tragedy by choosing a stroller with practical, easy to operate brakes. A special safety feature on some strollers is brakes that lock two wheels for extra protection. The brakes should be easy to engage, but not easy to disengage. Make sure the brake release lever is out of reach of your child while in the stroller. Always engage your brakes when you stop the stroller. Check for stroller recalls to ensure that you do not purchase one with a known defect or hazard.

Know Your Stroller’s Pinch Points

Most strollers today are expertly designed to prevent child injuries. Checking the design for yourself, however, is an excellent way to ensure you purchase the safest one for your needs. Many stroller injuries result from pinched or caught extremities, leading to lacerations or crushed bones. If you need a double stroller, for example, look for one with a single footrest to avoid your child’s feet becoming trapped between separate footrests. Often, strollers have hinges that may injure a child’s fingers. Manufacturers have even recalled several models for this reason over the years. Use the pencil test to check for other parts of the stroller that could potentially pinch or injure your child. If the pencil can go into a point and get stuck, your child’s fingers are at risk. Keep a close eye to keep your child’s hands away from recognized pinch points, and keep children a safe distance away while folding and unfolding the stroller.

Stay Close to the Stroller

Never leave your child unattended in the stroller or unbuckled. Watch out for any situation that could lead to the stroller tipping over, as this is a common cause of stroller-related head injuries. Avoid hanging heavy items on the stroller’s handlebars to further prevent this issue, and ensure that your child is within the weight limits of the stroller. Prevent accidents from happening by knowing what to look out for and staying close to your child while in the stroller.
Posted by at 9:18 pm