Child Abuse Prevention
The following describes various forms of child abuse and neglect. If you suspect a child is suffering from abuse or neglect, please contact your Hurley physician, a medical professional, a teacher or social worker, or the police.
Preventing child abuse and neglect: a Hurley priority
Child abuse and neglect are serious problems in our community and we are committed to stopping these potentially fatal events. Hurley has on staff one of only six board certified child abuse specialists in Michigan. When our child abuse specialist is presented with a case of child abuse or neglect—often through the police, a social worker, our Pediatric Emergency Area or our Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) —the first step is to take care of the child’s immediate needs. Then Protective Services is notified and officials do an appropriate intervention, then we try to address the issues. The important thing is to identify these cases and intervene as quickly as possible so that the abusive cycle can be stopped.
Abusive head trauma, also called 'shaken baby syndrome'
The most common cause of death in babies is abusive head trauma, also known as 'shaken baby syndrome.' Often this is caused by a caretaker (mother, father, babysitter, boyfriend) losing his/her patience with a baby who is crying and won’t stop. Babies typically cry a lot during the first three months, which is when the most cases of fatal abusive head trauma occur.
The 5 S's: a safe way to stop a baby from crying and prevent abusive head trauma
- Swaddle the baby
- Hold the baby on his/her Side (the football hold)
- Make a loud Shhhh sound (the sound a baby hears in the womb)
- Gently Swing the baby
- Give the baby something to Suck
If the 5 S’s don’t work:
- The caregiver should put the baby down, leave the room, and cool off for a few minutes.
- After a short period of time, he/she should try the 5 S’s again to stop the baby from crying
Educating parents using the Period of Purple Crying program
To try to prevent shaken baby syndrome, all parents of a newborn delivered at Hurley are provided with information about the Period of Purple Crying program, a parent educational program from the National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome. The Period of Purple Crying helps parents understand newborns' frequent crying patterns, which is a very normal developmental phase. Parents are shown a DVD and then given a booklet and a DVD to take home to share with anyone who is going to be a caregiver for the new baby.
Risk factors that can lead to child abuse:
- domestic violence
- substance abuse
- military deployment
- premature baby which prevents parent-child bonding
- mentally or physically handicapped baby/child
- if the father or mother was abused as a child
- the presence of an unrelated male in the household
Other forms of child abuse:
- Medical child abuse: when a child is given something by the mother to make him/her sick in order to bring attention to the family
- Neglect: more common than abuse, neglect involves long-term lack of interest in a child’s food, clothing, cleanliness, participation in school, etc. Neglect also indicates the presence of significant parental mental illness.
If you suspect a child is suffering from abuse or neglect, please contact your Hurley physician, a medical professional, a teacher or social worker, or the police.