An infant is described as a two month to one-year old baby and is the most vulnerable human that can face abuse. As an infant it is not able to protect itself and relies solely on its parents or care takers to take care of it. Shaken baby Syndrome is the most common abuse found amongst infants. Shaken baby syndrome is where the parent and caregiver shake’s the baby so hard that head moves in a whiplash fashion (Infant Toddler Development Training Module, 2012). Parents and caregivers often shake the baby to quiet the baby down from crying. By shaking the baby, it can lead to bleeding and swelling of the brain. Other forms of abuse are sexual, emotional or verbal, physical neglect, medical neglect, and emotional neglect (Infant Toddler Development Training Module, 2012). Some of the common symptoms a healthcare provider might see in an infant that shouts abuse is excessively crying, poor hygiene, poor weight gain, malnutrition, fractures, bruising, trauma, lacerations, burns, bite marks, dislocations, tearing, bleeding, and scars (Signs & Symptoms of Abuse/Neglect, 2018). All cultures have different beliefs and sometimes as a health care provider we can misunderstand. In some cultures, parents will try home remedies or holistic approaches until the child is very sick. When the child is brought in to a health care facility the child will sometimes look very ill and a diagnosis may show neglect, but the parents did not neglect the child just tried cultural home remedies. In the state of New Jersey if a nurse sees signs of abuse he or she must document and report it quickly to Division of Child Protection and Permanency department who will then investigate the allegations and visit the family within 24 hours or reporting.
The environment of a child should be included in part of their assessment as the home and community where they live contribute to their health. A nurse should assess if the child is exposed to mold, tobacco smoke, environmental noises, use of appropriate child restraints in the car, food allergies, and are cleaning products stored safely out of reach (Jarvis, 2016).
Asthma is very common childhood illness and affects 1 in 10 children. Asthma is often triggered when a child is exposed to tobacco smoke or an irritant in the air that irritates their lungs. One of main reasons children miss school is due to asthma. Children living in inner cities, low-income families, and minorities visit the ER, are hospitalized and higher death rates due to asthma than other members of the population (CDC, 2017).
Obesity is becoming more prevalent among school-aged children, as studies show that 1 in 5 school-aged children are obese. Obesity is caused when a child consumes more calories than his body needs. Many factors contribute to obesity in children such as, metabolism, physical activity, and the community where they live (CDC, 2018). When a family is not able to afford to live in a community where there are parks and playground for children to play safely it puts the child at risk to becoming obese. A families’ income may also limit the availability to play in sporting activities due to cost of items to participate.
Children have the highest rate of non-fatal bicycle accidents, many of which occur in urban areas (CDC, 2017). Children living in communities where there are no safe bike paths to ride are at risk of being injured. Parents often do not purchase safety equipment due to cost, such as helmets for their children.
Over a hundred thousand children are injured in auto accidents every year, many ending in death. Many of these injuries could have been prevented if the child was in the proper restraint or using a seat belt at the time of the accident (CDC, 2017).
Children that are living in poverty are exposed to health disparities as they often live in poor housing, unsafe neighborhoods, and poor access to healthcare to treat their children when ill. Safety education and offering resources to parents when they bring their children for sick or well-checks needs to be completed to protect and improve the environment of the child.