By Michelle Durham
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month and two experienced Cooper University Hospital physicians coached other Cooper healthcare professionals on how to spot child abuse as well as domestic violence.
Pediatric emergency physician and child abuse pediatrician Dr. Kathryn McCans led the discussion. She says there are key times in a child’s development where they might be more likely to be the victim of abuse.
“Infant crying is a frequent cause for caretakers to react. Adolescence, toddler time, when children have ‘no’ in their vocabulary and that is the only word they want to use — these are known periods for children when it’s very frustrating for families.”
Also, seizing the opportunity to steer victims of domestic abuse to the help they need when they come in for their child’s pediatric well visit is crucial, says Dr. Anat Feingold.
“Pediatricians are in a unique position, because they are often alone with usually the mother in a setting where it could lend itself to the opportunity for women to be screened.”
Both physicians say providing the tools and support these families need can go a long way to preventing child abuse before it begins or stop it before it results in irreversible injury.