Child abuse and neglect are serious public health concerns. They can have long-term
impacts on health. And they are common. At least 1 in 7 children have experienced
child abuse or neglect in the past year in the United States. There are 4 common types
of child abuse and neglect:
It can happen in any family and in any neighborhood. Studies have shown that child
abuse crosses all boundaries of income, race, ethnic heritage, and religious faith.
The incidence is higher in the following groups:
Try to understand your children. Learn how kids behave and what they can and can't
do at different ages. Have realistic expectations and be reasonable if children fall
Keep your children healthy. Denying children food, sleep, or healthcare is abuse by
Get help with alcohol or drug problems. Keep children away from anyone who abuses
Watch your words. Angry or punishing language can leave emotional scars for a lifetime.
Get control of yourself before disciplining a child. Set clear rules so the child
knows what to expect. Avoid physical punishment.
Take a time-out. Stop if you begin to act out frustration or other emotions physically.
Find someone to talk with or watch your kids while you take a walk. Call a child abuse
prevention hotline if you are worried you may hit or harm your child.
Make your home a violence-free zone. Turn off violent TV shows and don't let kids
stay under the same roof with an abusive adult.
Join a support program for new parents.
Take regular breaks from your children. This will give you a release from the stress
of parenting full-time.
Know the signs of child abuse and neglect. These may include unexplained injuries,
depression, fear of a certain adult, difficulty trusting others or making friends,
sudden changes in eating or sleeping habits, sudden changes in behavior or school
performance, inappropriate sexual behavior, keeping secrets, and being aggressive.
Use correct names for all body parts and teach your child the correct names of all
body parts. Teach your child that no one should ask them to keep secrets from their
parents or caregivers, to see or touch their private parts, or for help with an adult's
or other child's private parts. If a healthcare professional has to examine these
parts of the body, be present.
Teach your child it is OK to say "No" to touches that make them uncomfortable. For
example, if your child does not want to hug a family member or friend, respect their
decision to say “No” to this contact.
Remember that child abuse often repeats itself in the next generation. By doing what
you can to prevent it today, you can help save children's lives far into the future.