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According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (2014), child maltreatment includes physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, and neglect of a child under the age of 18 by a parent, caregiver, or persons in a custodial role. The preschooler range from the ages of 2-5 and are at greatest risk for severe injury and death from abuse. (Center for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], 2014, p.1) A caregiver, parent, or custodial person needs to be aware of warning signs of child abuse. There are 10 warning signs that a child is being abused: unexplained injuries such as visible bruises or burns
changes in behaviors such as withdrawn or scared,
display of anxiety when time to go home or they have a fear of going home changes in eating patterns that may result in weight gain or loss changes in sleeping patterns or frequent nightmares , difficulty falling asleep resulting in increased tiredness changes in school performance, school attendance, or concentration while at school lack of personal care or hygiene such as severe odors & dirty clothes increased risk taking in personal life
inappropriate sexual behaviors
The child must know that they can trust you and if any of these warning signs are recognized action must be taken to report the maltreatment to your “local or state child protective service agency, or to your neighborhood police precinct.” (Safe Horizons, 2014) Different cultures have rituals or behaviors that might lead the assessing nurse to believe a child is being abused. This is why it is so important for all health care professionals to be culturally competent. There are many examples of different acts that may mimic abuse for example cupping or coining that may be seen in Russian, Asian, or Mexican cultures. “Providers’ knowledge of cultural practices along with a consistent history can aid in the diagnosis and avoid accusations of child abuse.” (Harris, 2010) The assessing nurse must be very aware and be able to recognize the difference in cultural practices or abuse.