SOURCE: The New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children

The New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children

November 09, 2015 11:30 ET

A Neighbor Can Mean the Difference Between Life and Death for a Child

Communities Need to Get Involved to Help Prevent Child Fatalities and Abuse; Learn the Basic Steps to Help a Child at Risk and Take Action, Says The New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwired - Nov 9, 2015) - Too many babies have died in the past three months after being thrown out of windows, allegedly by their mothers. Too many children suffer abuse and neglect everyday by family and acquaintances. Too many parents are in crisis, and need assistance. Citizens and neighbors need to get involved to help stop these tragedies and protect children. It can mean the difference between life and death for newborns and children under the age of four.

"Child abuse is 100% preventable, and it is everyone's responsibility to protect children," says Dr. Mary Pulido, Executive Director of The New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. "Most child abuse occurs behind closed doors, therefore, it is important for concerned friends, family members and neighbors to make themselves familiar with the signs of abuse and neglect, and learn how to report it if they have suspicions. Reporting a possible child abuse case can be difficult, yes, but it is always better to make the phone call. It may save a child's life."

According to the 2013 national child maltreatment data, approximately 3.5 million reports of child abuse and neglect are reported each year involving more than 6.4 million children. The data estimates that 1520 children died in 2013 from abuse and neglect. Nearly 86% of the children that died were infants to four years old. One or both parents caused the vast majority of those fatalities.

"When a child is brought to the attention of the authorities, the children and their parents can get the help that they need to prevent abuse, strengthen their family and stop another tragedy from occurring," says Dr. Pulido.

A Neighbor's Path to Protecting A Child From Abuse and Neglect

Dr. Pulido says that all citizens should learn the basic steps to help a baby or child at risk, and encourage their neighbors to do the same.

  • Learn the Signs

    Adults should take the time to recognize the red flags for a victim of child abuse.

    Some abuse signs are physical:
    Bruises and welts on face, lips, mouth, torso, back, buttocks, thighs in various stages of healing; Burns, bite marks, injuries to both eyes or cheeks; "Grab-marks", fractures, head injuries, lacerations or abrasions.

    Some abuse signs are behavioral:
    Fear of parents and fear of going home; Reports of an injury by the child seem suspicious; Wariness toward adult contact; May wear concealing clothing to hide bruises or injuries; Manifestations of low self-esteem; Suicide attempts.

    For more information on the signs and symptoms of both child abuse and neglect, please visit nyspcc.org.

  • Learn the Numbers

    911
    If you witness a child being abused, or hear a child screaming in pain, call 911. The police are trained to handle these calls.

    State Hotlines
    If you have suspicions that a child is at risk, every state has a hotline to make a report. Calls can be made anonymously. The NYSPCC believes even if you are not certain about the specifics, make the call.

    National Child Abuse Hotline
    1-800-4 A Child

  • Learn the Resources and the Laws

    Safe Haven
    Every state in the United States has a law that allows an unharmed child to be relinquished to the proper authorities, no questions asked. It was developed as an incentive for mothers in crisis to safely give up their child to designated location where the babies are protected. The locations that are designed Safe Havens vary by state, but they include fire stations, police stations, hospitals, and emergency medical providers by responding to a 911 call or a church. These providers then contact child protective services to let them know the child has been relinquished.

    Crisis Nurseries
    Crisis Nurseries are another option for parents at their wits end or are in an emergency situation whereby they cannot care for their children. These programs were developed to prevent child abuse and neglect. Most offer free 24/7-crisis nursery care for children up to age 12, when parents who are over-stressed, need a break, or have an emergency arise. Usually, a child can be left for up to 72 hours at a time. The services vary, but at most programs, the children can receive medical services, developmental screening and assessment, age appropriate recreational play, education, including transportation to local schools and crisis counseling for parents. The staff at these programs work with the parents to develop a safety plan for the children's return to home.

    Parent Crisis Helplines
    The American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress offers a nationwide crisis helpline for each state. These hotlines offer counseling services for issues such as parental crisis, suicide prevention or domestic violence. They can put the parent in touch with one of the crisis nurseries or explain the Safe Haven law, if it applies. They can also provide a supportive outlet for a stressed out parent to discuss the difficulties that they are having in parenting their children. The counselors range from trained volunteers to paid professional staff. Many operate 24 hours a day and offer services in several languages too.

For more information or to arrange an interview or bylined article with Dr. Pulido, please contact Susan Kriskey, Kriskey + Lane Communications, susankriskey@gmail.com / (917) 836 - 5250.

About The New York Society For The Prevention of Cruelty To Children
The New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NYSPCC), founded in 1875, is the first -- and one of the most highly respected -- child protection agencies in the world. The NYSPCC responds to the complex needs of abused and neglected children, and those involved in their care, by providing best practice counseling, legal and educational services. Through research, communications and training initiatives, we work to expand these programs to prevent abuse and help more children heal.

The NYSPCC's unique work is used as a model for child welfare agencies across the nation. Since its founding, The NYSPCC has investigated more than 650,000 cases on the behalf of over two million children, and has educated over 46,000 professionals on how to identify and report child abuse and neglect. Please visit www.nyspcc.org for more information.

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