April: National Child Abuse Prevention Month

By Lindsay Hornell, BSW, B.A.,
Graduate Research Assistants in Human Development & Family Studies,
Colorado State University

April: National Child Abuse Prevention Month

Each year in the United States, as many as 3.3 million reports of child abuse are made. Even more shocking, each day as many as 5 children in the United States die from abuse-related causes. Abuse can occur in several different forms including: physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, and neglect. Child abuse can happen across all ethnicities and economic levels. With April being National Child Abuse Prevention Month, it is important to know the risk factors of child abuse and coping strategies to help deal with the stressors of raising children to prevent child abuse from occurring. This information can be helpful whether you are concerned about abuse occurring within your family or other families you may know.

The following items are risk factors for child abuse:

  • Family crisis or stress: The changes that occur when grandparents take on the challenge of raising their grandchild can be a difficult transition for everyone. With so many changes, this transition can bring a lot of stress for both grandchildren and grandparents
  • Financial Stress or unemployment: Taking care of children brings on so many extra costs. Grandparents often face financial stress as a result of becoming primary caregivers of their grandchildren.
  • Little knowledge of child development and positive parenting skills
  • Lack of social/family support
  • Substance abuse

Anyone raising a child can potentially face these risk factors that can easily trigger anger and frustration. Therefore, it is important to know that there are strategies that can help eliminate anger and help restore a sense of calm in stressful situations. Try using these strategies in your own family or share these strategies with other families you may know:

  • Close your eyes and pretend that you are going to hear what you were about to say to the child.
  • If another adult is present, take a break from the child and go for a walk.
  • Put you AND you're the child in a time-out chair. While you're in "time-out" think about what is making you angry, and what you can do instead of taking your anger out on the child.
  • Go to the bathroom and splash your face to calm down.

It is important to remember that child abuse is preventable. If you know someone who is being abused, please call, Prevent Child Abuse America: 800-CHILDREN (800-244-5373). If you would like to join the fight against child abuse, click here for a list of events to get involved in through Prevent Child Abuse Colorado.

Information Provided by: Mayo Clinic, Prevent Child Abuse America, and Child Help.