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Warning signs of child abuse & neglect

Warning signs of child abuse

Signs of physical abuse

  • Bruising, welts or burns that cannot be sufficiently explained, particularly bruises on the face, lips and mouth of infants or on several surface planes at the same time
  • Unusual bruising patterns that reflect the shape of the instrument used to cause injury (e.g., belt, wire hanger, hairbrush, hand, human bite marks)
  • Clusters of bruises, welts or burns, indicating repeated contact with a hand or instrument
  • Injuries on the body where children usually do not get hurt (e.g., the torso, back, buttocks, thighs, neck)
  • Burns that are insufficiently explained, e.g., cigarette burns or:
    • Immersion burns; marks indicating dunking in a hot liquid, including “stocking” and “glove” burns on feet and hands, or “doughnut” shaped burns on buttocks and genitalia
    • Rope or restraint burns on the arms, hands, neck or legs
    • Dry burns caused by forced contact with a hot surface (e.g., a clothes iron, hair curler, heater or stove)
  • Lacerations and abrasions of the lip, eye, or to any part of a child’s face
  • Tears in the tissue of the gums, possibly as a result of force-feeding
  • Laceration or abrasion to external genitalia
  • Absence of hair or hemorrhaging beneath the scalp due to vigorous hair pulling
  • Withdrawn, fearful or extreme behavior

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