Child abuse and neglect is a preventable public health problem. There are many factors that have been known to put children and families at risk for abuse and neglect, such as high unemployment rates, familiarity and comfort caring for common developmental milestones and parent/caregivers experience with trauma, among others. There are also numerous protective factors that can prevent child abuse and neglect, such as safe and stable housing, positive community relationship, access to medical and mental health services, emotional support, among others.
Pediatricians are uniquely situated to prevent child abuse and neglect because of their relationships with families across the life-span. Pediatricians and pediatric non-physician clinicians can help prevent child abuse and neglect through the promotion of safe, stable, nurturing relationships and communities.
To bring attention to this important public health issue, every year, the month of April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month. During the month, tools, resources and educational opportunities are offered to multidisciplinary professionals on strategies which can be used to support families and strengthen protective factors in order to prevent child abuse and neglect.
Resources from the AAP
Bright Futures – Bright Futures is a national health promotion and prevention initiative, led by the American Academy of Pediatrics and supported, in part, by the US Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB). The Bright Futures Guidelines provide theory-based and evidence-driven guidance for all preventive care screenings and well-child visits.
Resources for Families
- PSAs on Effective discipline PSA and Calming a Fussy Baby
- Parent/caregiver articles from AAP – there are a number of articles on Healthy Children website about strategies in handling normal developmental stages of children. The following are some of the key articles:
Period of Purple
The Period of PURPLE Crying program provides a new way to help parents understand this period in their baby's life. The acronym PURPLE is used to describe specific characteristics of an infant's crying. It lets parents and caregivers know that what they are experiencing is normal and, although frustrating, is a phase in their child's development.
Safe Environment for Every Kid aims to strengthen families, support parents and parenting, and thereby promote children's health, development and safety — and help prevent child abuse and neglect.
Center for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC)
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention provides information, research resources and programs to prevent child maltreatment and adverse childhood experiences (ACE). The Preventing Child Abuse and Neglect: A Technical Package for Policy, Norm, and Programmatic Activities represents a select group of strategies based on the best available evidence to help prevent child abuse and neglect.
Prevent Child Abuse America
Prevent Child Abuse America is the nation’s oldest and largest organization committed to preventing child abuse and neglect before it happens. They promote programs and resources informed by science that enable kids, families and entire communities to thrive—today, tomorrow and for generations to come.
American Academy of Pediatrics