The physical abuse of children includes any nonaccidental physical injury caused by the child's caretaker. Physical abuse can vary greatly in frequency and severity. It may include injuries sustained from burning, beating, kicking, or punching. Although the injury is not an accident, neither is it necessarily the intent of the child's caretaker to injure the child. Physical abuse may result from punishment that is inappropriate to the child's age, developmental level, or condition. Additionally, it may be caused by a parent's recurrent lapses in self-control that are brought on by immaturity, stress, or the use of alcohol or illicit drugs. Caretakers may physically abuse children during discipline or as a way to "teach the child a lesson."

 child abuseSigns of possible physical abuse include:

  • Fractures unexpectedly discovered in the course of an otherwise routine medical examination (e.g., discovering a broken rib while listening to the child's heartbeat)
  • Injuries that are inconsistent with, or out of proportion to, the history provided by the caretaker or with the child's age or developmental stage (e.g., a 3-month old burning herself by crawling on top of the stove)
  • Multiple fractures, often symmetrical (e.g., in both arms or legs), or fractures at different stages of healing
  • Fractures in children who are not able to walk
  • Skeletal trauma (e.g., fractures) combined with other types of injuries, such as burns
  • Subdural hematomas, which are hemorrhages between the brain and its outer lining that are caused by ruptured blood vessels
  • Burns on the buttocks, around the anogenital region, on the backs of the hands, or on both hands, as well as those that are severe.

Taylor Pyles

Tom "Taylor" Pyles is a child abuse survivor and the founder The Blue Ribbon Project. He has been a police officer with Annapolis Police Department for over a decade and is assigned as a Detective in the Criminal Investigations Section.  When not working, you'll find him spending time with his family and out enjoying the countryside on two wheels. 

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