How to Recognize Signs of Abuse in a Baby


It's unfortunate, but today it doesn't hurt for parents to be able to recognize signs of abuse in a baby. Not only can parents get treatment quickly, but they can take action getting the baby out of the abusive situation and take legal action if needed.

  • Check your baby for bruises. As babies get older and start crawling, climbing and getting into things, mild bruises will occur. But bruises before a baby is mobile may be an indicator your baby's being abused.

  • Ask questions about injuries. Injuries and accidents do occur, but injuries without explanation or explanations that don't make sense may also indicate abuse.

  • Be on the lookout for symptoms of Shaken Baby Syndrome. Shaken baby syndrome occurs when a care giver violently shakes a baby to get them to stop crying. Babies who experience the following signs of abuse should see a pediatrician immediately. The symptoms include inability to lift or turn head, dilated or pinpointed pupils, blood pooling in eyes, lethargy, difficulty in breathing, vomiting, pale skin, seizures or a swollen head.

  • Note if your baby's not gaining weight appropriately. While this isn't a sure sign of abuse, it may be a sign of neglect and that the care giver isn't properly feeding the baby.

  • Pay attention if your baby lies completely still when being examined or played with. Babies should respond to a care giver's attentions.

Tips & Warnings

  • Babies with colic or who cry a lot are at a higher risk for abuse.
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