May 1, 2010: An article is by JoNel Aleccia, a health writer for MSNBC reports that cases of shaken baby syndrome have increased dramatically during the recession. Abusive head trauma in children climbed by 55% in the months after the recession began.
Dr. Rachel P. Berger, a University of Pittsburgh Medical Center brain injury specialist, led the study and is quoted in the article that "we do know that poverty and stress are clearly risk factors for child abuse." She went on to state that "here, you had the perfect storm: increased stress, increased poverty and yet the social services were being cut."
Throughout the article, there are many cases that are stated where this has taken place and I'm sure there are many more that are not stated and most likely are not known. All too often, so much of these things go hidden and unnoticed. The families where this takes place are usually very good at hiding abuse that is going on within their confines. However, when a baby or infant is severely injured, then it becomes very difficult to hide because medical treatment is needed at that point.
Dr. Berger and her team looked at 511 unequivocal cases of abusive head trauma from Jan 1, 2004 through Dec 31, 2009. The average number of cases jumped from 6 per month to 9 per month in the 4 hospitals focused on in the study. Of these cases, 63% were injured severely enough to be admitted to a pediatric intensive care unit. Sixteen percent of these children died as a result of their injuries.
Dr. Berger's research follows a new government report last month that shows the number of child abuse victims went down in 2008, the number of deaths from abuse went up. This is according to information from the National Child Abuse And Neglect Data System as stated in the article.
It is sad that we have humans who feel they must do this to children. It makes me angry to hear of this and to know from a first hand experience that these things go on. One child being abused or beat is too many. Children are not here for the amusement and control of adults. They are here to become adults who hopefully contribute to the betterment of society. I firmly believe that if you harm a child, you will have to answer for it. Children are innocent bundles of joy and are a gift to us.
With that being said, trauma and stress do affect people in very strong ways. An over abundance of stress triggers all types of behaviors and past stresses or trauma in ways that may not normally show up. It does not excuse any of this behavior whatsoever but if people do not deal with the baggage they carry around in their lives, than it will repeat itself. Trauma that is not healed looks for an exit route and until it finds that, the events get caught in a cycle that plays over and over.
If you are finding yourself so stressed out by the events going on you, try to take some time and go rest, relax and be with yourself. Find ways to get rid of the stress and frustration that you are experiencing. Do more than trying to relax. Try to get in touch with all your fears, frustrations and stress. See where it is located within your body and observe the connections in your body to these emotions. Than, work to let go of these things from deep within yourself.
At no point, is being abusive to a child ever ok. If you feel like you are to the point of losing control, give yourself a time out. Get yourself out of the situation long enough to see what is going on and to stop yourself from doing any harm to a child or to anyone. Then once, you've calmed down, seek out counseling and support that will help you to deal with the issues and emotions that you have coming up. It takes a big person to admit they need help and it takes an even bigger person to not take their own stuff out on innocent children.
Article Link on MSNBC.com: Shaken Baby Injuries Rose In Recession
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