Parents of Kids who Get Too Many Bruises May Be Charged with Neglect

Hi Folks — This eyhtefbrtb
comes to us from Australia, where the federal government is telling child protective workers to consider — and classify  — kids who “often” hurt themselves as at a “high risk of neglect.” “Accident-prone children might be the victims of poor parental supervision,” is how AdelaideNow sums the reasoning up.  Thus, anyone treating (or seeing?) bruised or clumsy kids is told to assess the role that parental supervision — or lack thereof — played, even in minor accidents.

The theory behind this isn’t bad. It’s true that severely neglected children, especially young ones, may be hurting themselves because their parents are (as this study suggests) totally out of it, on drugs, or passed out on the couch.

But I have to think this call for scrutiny and immediate suspicion would have a chilling effect on any parents ready to let their kids have some Free-Range, old-fashioned fun and independence — like riding a bike, or climbing a tree. If a kid wipes out on his bike one week, bonks his head on a branch the next, is he a lovingly tended child with parents who believe kids can (and even should) endure a couple bruises? Or is he  a neglected child? And how can we be sure the evaluator will be able to tell the difference?

Or even believe there IS a difference?

My fear is not so much that the authorities will mistake normal childhood injuries for the negligence endured in the home of severely drug-addled parents. I fear that, increasingly, normal childhood injuries won’t be considered normal anymore, period. So any kid sustaining them will automatically be considered neglected, because why weren’t the parents right behind him on that tree, or standing under it with a safety net?

The New South Wales Children’s Commissioner quoted in the aritcle, Megan Mitchell, said, “I don’t think we can expect parents to be super-parents but they need to know what their child is doing as best they can.”

What the heck does that mean? Is it enough to know my kid is playing outside and will be home by dinner? Or should I know every activity he will be participating in from 10 a.m. till 6 on a Saturday, including that he’s going to jump off a swing at 12:16? The commissioner went on to say that she would “hope” that prosecuting parents “would be reasonably rare and that people in authority would establish a relationship with the families and then make a good judgment about whether there is a real problem or not.”

But where we see no problem, the authorities could. And the authorities have…authority. Therein lies the problem. – L.

So if he falls off his bike and gets a little banged up — say, two or three times — are his parents “neglectful”?

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59 Responses to Parents of Kids who Get Too Many Bruises May Be Charged with Neglect

  1. gap.runner September 9, 2012 at 6:56 pm #

    Wow! I would definitely be hauled off to jail for child neglect because my son always has a bruise somewhere. Most of his scrapes and bruises are from playing football (soccer) at a local park with his pals. I tell him that the bruises on his legs are the sign of being a real boy. He was recently at a week-long sleepover camp and fell off his bike there because he bumped into a post sticking up out of the ground. As I told him, “That’s what happens when you don’t pay attention to where you’re going.” He ended up with a huge bruise on his leg. When he came home, he couldn’t wait to show his friends his “war wound.”

    The child care centers on the base where I worked were very sensible about kids and bruises. They realized that kids would get scrapes and bruises on certain body parts (arms and legs) from their normal play. If a child showed up with bruised legs, that was okay. But if a child came to the center with bruises in an “unusual” place, then the workers were required to report it.

  2. Kimberly September 9, 2012 at 7:31 pm #

    Like gaprunner said it is about the placement, shape of the bruise, and the kid’s mood/attitude.

    Long thin straight bruises that go across both legs (front or back) or go from one arm to the other – I call CPS.

    Marks on both arms that look like hands – probably going to call CPS – especially if the kid is off.

    Roundish bruises on the legs – normal

    One hand shaped bruise on the arm – with a story about being pushed off the sidewalk by stranger and Dad grabbing child and pulling back to safety I’ll believe (happened to me once)

    War Stories are what makes the difference.
    Kids that get hurt tend to come into class Look Ms. Herbert I broke my arm playing football. Look at this bruise I got defending my goal in soccer. I caught the baseball with my eye. Wait to you see Paul Ms. Herbert, he wiped out on his bike.

    Kids don’t do this when they are scared. Even then you have to be careful.

    A neighbor kid took my sister’s bike as a joke. She blackened his eye (in her defense she expected him to duck.) He came up with a wildly improbable story about the eye. Thankfully Mom heard him telling the story to the teacher and saw the look on the teacher’s face. Mom told her what had actually happened. The teacher was relieved. She knew the family, and couldn’t see the parents doing this to their kid. But the boy was obviously lying and almost half his face was black and blue (Sis hit him once but the kid was a very pale blond blue eyed kid and the bruise was vivid against his pale skin,) As a mandated reporter the severity of the bruise + the lie = her having to call in.

  3. Michelle September 9, 2012 at 7:53 pm #

    Kimberly, hopefully they would also take into account that kids don’t always know where the bruises came from. Because it takes time for bruises to show up, unless the incident was memorable, my kids have often completely forgotten how or when they hurt themselves by the time the bruise appears. Heck, I have three bruises on my thigh right now, and I haven’t the foggiest idea where I got them.

    Also the fact that some kids are really uncomfortable being questioned by strange adults, they might lie or be evasive about something totally innocuous, just because they are nervous about the questioning itself.

    I guess what concerns me is that bruises on kids are so incredibly common, the vast majority of them are completely innocent, distinguishing between the innocent and the sinister is so complicated and nuanced, and the consequences of a mistake are so grave. Add in the fact that, of late, those in authority have been pushing the line of “acceptable” parenting farther and farther towards mandatory helicoptering, and I can see why good parents are worried.

  4. Nanci September 9, 2012 at 8:11 pm #

    I know exactly where my 10 year old is right now. She is selling candy bars door to door to pay for 5th grade camp! She asked permission to cross a major road to go into a different subdivision across from ours. She called it the “rich” neighborhood and said she thought she would sell a lot there LOL!! I told her she could go. So I do know where she is, I’m not neglectful right 😉

  5. Stephanie September 9, 2012 at 8:59 pm #

    I’d be in such trouble. My oldest plays outside more than most kids we know these days. In fact, one of the moms at my son’s soccer practice commented on my daughter being the only kid she knows who still climbs trees and digs in dirt anymore. Shocked me, because I thought that’s what kids are supposed to do, even at age 10, as she is. She has taught several other kids to climb trees, including a teenager whose mother was a bit disappointed because she had hoped her daughter would never learn to climb trees.

  6. Nicole September 9, 2012 at 9:06 pm #

    Well, my parents would have lived in total fear, then. I have a low platelet count, and bruise at the drop of hat. I’m SO glad these policies weren’t around when I was a kid!

  7. Jenny Islander September 9, 2012 at 9:33 pm #

    @Stephanie: ” . . . because she had hoped her daughter would never learn to climb trees.”

    Which would have accomplished what, exactly? When you’re a kid, that’s what trees are for!

  8. Amy C September 9, 2012 at 9:39 pm #

    I agree… I could be in big trouble if they start prosecuting for bruises. My 9 ear old has developmental delays and has terrible balance. Combine that with bruising easily and she is constantly covered with bruises, mostly on her legs, but sometimes in less common areas, too. I once made a comment to the pediatrician about the number of bruises and she said that just shows that she’s getting more active. I still worry if she has a particularly big bruise or something that looks “suspicious”.

  9. mollie September 9, 2012 at 10:30 pm #

    When we are looking for something we label “neglect” or “abuse,” then we see everything through that filter.

    When we are just observing, trying to discern how well a child is thriving, then bruises may be part of that thriving or not, depending on what else we are observing.

    Bruises are no more automatically “neglect” than dirt stains on your pants or tangled hair. My life’s work is to undo my conditioning to label and judge everything I see and move myself toward a consciousness of objective observation, and whether needs are being met or not met.

    This effort by the authorities in Australia is troubling to me.

  10. CrazyCatLady September 9, 2012 at 10:59 pm #

    Wow, my parents would have been in trouble! When I was about 12, my stepfatther jokingly called me “Crash and Splash” because I was constantly knocking into thing. In front of them.

    I have always bruised easily. Even now, when getting dressed (or undressed) my husband will look over and say something like “How did you get that nasty bruise on your arm/leg?!?” And I will have no idea. It happened. Somehow. I just don’t remember the things I bump into unless my clothes get ripped, or it really hurt. It doesn’t have to really hurt to leave a bruise.

    You should have seen me when I played field hockey in high school and college. Yes, we wore shin guards (and mouth guards.) But I needed a body guard. I had bruises all over from that, ones that would stick around for weeks. All under adult supervision.

  11. Kimberly September 9, 2012 at 11:49 pm #

    On the other hand I was being beaten daily at school by bullies – but I don’t get normal visible bruises. My complaints were dismissed because there wasn’t a mark on me.

    After a severe accident witnessed by family and cops (who actually caused it), my parents took me to a doctor. He said the bruises were not noticeable to lay people due to the discoloration of my skin from a genetic disorder. They were severe enough he was ready to call CPS on the school for failure to protect me.

    He was something – he had previously called up the school and yelled at them for their response to my having a potentially deadly reaction to peanuts. (I had been punished for shoving the guy wiping peanut butter on me to get away from him)

  12. Teri September 10, 2012 at 12:00 am #

    I’ve always bruised easily, too. Just sitting with my legs crossed can cause a bruise. Let a cat step on my arm while I’m napping on the couch – bruise. My daughter is the same way. She never knows where her bruises come from. Thankfully nobody has ever questioned any of them and called DCS because if she were to say to them “I don’t know” when questioned as to the origin, they would automatically think she was hiding something. But, it only takes one know-it-all to report you and then you have a file with DCS. And, even if it is unfounded, that file never goes away.

    My sister was the biggest clutz. She sliced her hand open trying to cut down bamboo to make spears to throw at the boys in the neighborhood (we always had wars with the boys – think about the movie “Now and Then.”) She broke her finger slamming it in the sliding glass door. Broke another one slamming it in the car door – I think she did that more than once. Fell off her bike more times than I can count. Hit two deer the first year she was driving. Anything that could have gone wrong and caused her an injury did. LOL!

  13. DJ September 10, 2012 at 12:19 am #

    I played rugby in college and as a young adult. Nearly every one of us experienced showing up at a doctor’s for a check-up or illness and getting questioned about the fingerprint bruises on our arms, or massive bruises on our legs from getting stepped on, black eyes from elbows, etc.

    Fortunately, the doctors were always intelligent people who really listened and could tell that our stories were true!

  14. Warren September 10, 2012 at 1:04 am #

    I do fear that doctors, nurses, teachers and such will operate on the better cover my butt, and make the call. Instead of using common sense, and taking into count the lifestyle of the child, like sports or energy level.

    My youngest daughter and I are both sports oriented. Injuries are expected, and usually taken as badges of honour or pride. We also wrestle with each other.

    At the age of 13, now, she not only accepts that injury is a part of playing sports, she expects that it could happen at any time. She does not shy away, and is proud when in her own words, she can “take one for the team”.

  15. Lollipoplover September 10, 2012 at 1:35 am #

    My kids could tell you many stories of their adventures from the various bruises, cuts, and imperfections on their bodies (not to mention scars). They are athletic, daring, and happy kids. I wouldn’t have it any other way- it’s called childhood and they will experience many epic fails.
    My daughter got hip-checked in a soccer game this weekend. She fell hard, but the little imp that tried to take her down was taken off the field injured. My daughter got an indirect kick on goal, which her teammate knocked in, winning the game. She has two HUGE bruises on her knees and hip. She can’t wait to show her friends at school and tell them about the win.
    I am horrified that every NORMAL injury of childhood is seen as preventable or else.

  16. AW13 September 10, 2012 at 2:19 am #

    My son rides his bike fast and over all kinds of surfaces. And we just took off his training wheels. Needless to say, he falls down a lot. He also likes to play at the park, chase the dog, climb up slides, run around, and be a kid. His knees and shins are constantly scraped up and bruised. And, if you ask him about any of the injuries, you’ll receive a long and detailed story about how they each happened.

    Like someone above said, kids are usually very willing to explain each and every injury on their body. When they aren’t, it is a sign of something fishy going on (in my opinion).

  17. Emily September 10, 2012 at 2:19 am #

    Oh, I see that several people beat me to the “rugby” argument, but yeah, that was what I was going to say. Every springtime when I was in high school, two things happened: The weather got warmer (well, okay, technically, that happened everywhere), and rugby season started, at least for the girls’ team. I think the guys played in the fall, and had soccer in the spring, and girls were the other way around. Anyway, I digress–every spring, the “rugby girls” would be in their glory on the field, and they’d sustain their fair share of bruises in the process. Also, since it was spring, they’d start coming to school in shorts, tank tops, skirts knee length or shorter, etc, and everyone would see their bruises. If anyone asked one of them what they did to their arm/leg/face, they’d either tell you exactly what happened on the rugby field, in gruesome detail (and make you wish you’d never asked), or they’d just say, “Oh, I play rugby.” After about a week or two into rugby season, people just stopped asking, and it didn’t bother anyone (including them), because they just kept winning, so they were kind of celebrities in our school. This was all well and good at the time, but looking back, I wonder what would have happened if one of the rugby girls was actually being abused, and only some of her bruises had happened while playing rugby? As far as I know, that never happened, but again, what if?

  18. Jenna September 10, 2012 at 2:20 am #

    This is a little too cautious, in my opinion. All of my kids are accident-prone and unless I literally wrap them in bubble wrap, there’d be no way to stop them from injuring themselves on a regular basis, even when I’m standing right next to them. My 5-year-old just got staples in his head because he was walking next to me in Walmart but he was looking backwards. I was looking at something the other direction and he walked (backwards) right into the corner of a bin in the middle aisle. He hit his head pretty hard and split it open a little. Accidents happen and it’s a pity that society is moving toward a place where even little childhood accidents are grounds for declaring neglect.

  19. Diane September 10, 2012 at 2:22 am #

    Ive had the opposite. When taking my young son to the pediatrician. He looked at all the bruises on his legs and told me I was doing a great job. The bruises meant I wasn’t letting him sit in front of the TV all day!! LOL

  20. Natashia Shannon September 10, 2012 at 2:53 am #

    I wouldn’t worry about this too much. DoCS (the Australian version of social services) is massively understaffed and overworked with REAL child abuse cases already. The liklihood that a report of bruises only would be more than checked out is infinitessimal.
    DoCS does great work here, and I hate for people to get the wrong idea because of overly detailed guidelines for mandatory reporters.

  21. Viveka September 10, 2012 at 3:47 am #

    From another Aussie: yes, what Natashia said. DOCS doesn’t have the resources to go around harassing people for letting their kids play unsupervised in the afternoons. When they say “too many bruises” they mean *really* too man bruises, the kind that you get from being beaten up repeatedly. This is a false alarm.

  22. Janet September 10, 2012 at 4:00 am #

    All it takes is one over-zealous mandatory reporter, though, to flag a family to DoCS.

    And let’s say that family subscribes to the free-range philosophy – letting their children walk to school alone (with each other), playing at the local park and climbing trees there without an adult, etc. That family then second-guesses every little move they make with their children both in and out of the house, to the detriment of the whole family’s mental, physical and emotional well-being.

    Or, free-rangers (or potential free-rangers) hear about this, and decide to make a pre-emptive strike, and limit their children’s free-ranging. Again, to the children’s detriment, but maybe not so much to the detriment of the whole family, as the stress of being known to “the authorities” is not present as in the first example.

    I’ll keep letting my children walk to school and climb trees at the park without me hovering, but I am more and more scared that being able to justify allowing them to do this will mean nothing to the authorities who come knocking on my door, with their little check-boxes about what parents “should” do in this day and age.

  23. Ben September 10, 2012 at 4:18 am #

    My daughter fractured her arm when she was about 18 months old. I was making her lunch while my (8 year old) brother kept an eye on her in the lounge room. But she had just discovered the joys of running and he was egging her on while she ran on the couch. I walked in to tell them to settle down just in time to see her tumble over the edge.

    We were questioned about how it happened by the doctors at the hospital, as with any other injury. I got the impression that while these things happen, if they happened too often then we’d get a call from DOCS. No doubt the incident was put on record, but they could probably see how worried and ashamed i was at the time.

    But we sure copped a lot of dirty looks from people when we were walking down the street! Mostly from older women.

    My daughter healed up fine, though, and she still climbs on things and jumps off them. And now her little brother is coming up to the age she was at the time and i’m getting paranoid about bringing another kid in with a busted limb! haha

  24. Emily September 10, 2012 at 5:09 am #

    @Ben: I know that broken bones look “disconcerting” on young children, but honestly, it’s almost better to break a bone early in life. Case in point: When my brother was seven (and I was ten), on the second day at our newschool, another kid pushed him off the monkey bars at recess, and he broke his foot. He went to the hospital, got fixed up, and it healed within the space of about a week, or two weeks, maximum. When I was 27 (last August), I fell down the stairs, and also broke my foot. Granted, I didn’t get a full cast like my brother did, because I wasn’t allowed a fibreglass one (too much swelling, the doctor said), so I opted for a crepe bandage with a tensor bandage on top, but still, I was an otherwise healthy and active person, so imagine my surprise when my foot took over two months to heal. So, moral of the story–if you’re going to break a bone, do it early in life.

  25. Elizabeth Thompson September 10, 2012 at 7:15 am #

    I actually send this article to Lenore. If this becomes legislation as a teacher I would have to make a report. In South Australia I am required to make a report if it’s only a suspicion. It’s the poor over worked Docs that must investigate. As a parent of an active 13 year old there has been many injuries from bruises to broken bones this is scary idea because I would feel on the defensive everyone my daughter hurts herself. I agree we should look after neglected and abused children but these ideas that are quoted in the article are extreme.

  26. Vicki September 10, 2012 at 1:04 pm #

    My daughter is five and has already had a dislocated elbow (she was holding hands with me and my friend and we were swinging her and she threw herself into a bit too enthusiastically), a split earlobe from falling off a tall stool onto the edge of a box, and a fractured arm from falling off the end of my sofa onto a hard floor. She also came home from school on Friday with a massive bruise on her head from colliding with another kid.

    The rest of the time, her legs and arms are covered in bruises, as are her little brother’s, because they run about and play and bounce like normal children. My son, at age two, is already becoming one of those kids who perpetually has sticking plaster on somewhere due to his tendency to fall over and scrape his knees and elbows.

    I was a ‘rough and tumble’ child myself, and I remember one school sports day I fell over and scraped my knee, got up and carried on going…the teacher had to actually stop me because blood was pouring down my leg! 😀 I also vividly remember a split lower lip, obtained from standing too close to someone backswinging a rounders bat. I remember it because I got fifteen minutes of fame for it as everyone (even some of the teachers) wanted to see my injury!

    There is NOTHING wrong with children getting knocked about a bit in the normal course of being a kid. The world is going mad these days. I know we need to protect children from real abuse, but surely the focus should be on the overall picture of the child rather than on specific injuries. If the kid is generally well fed, reasonably clean, confident and happy, and as other posters have mentioned are happy to talk about how they came by their bumps and bruises, then the likelihood is that they are safe, surely.

  27. ks September 10, 2012 at 1:07 pm #

    Emily is right about the broken bones–my youngest practically shattered his femur at the beginning of this summer, two weeks before his 7th birthday (he fell out of his tree house and it broke right in the middle, so there were the two big, main pieces and 10-15 smaller bits at the break). He ended up having surgery to piece it back together. It happened at the beginning of June and he’s been walking without crutches or anything and with a barely discernible limp for almost a month now. It is amazing how quickly they heal. My mom, on the other hand, broke her ankle when I was a kid (she was in her late 20s at the time) and was in a hip cast for months. I think it took around six months for her to be out of casts and then another couple of months to lose the limp. And she still has trouble with that ankle 30 years later.

    But if bruises were to become mandatory to report, then my family would almost definitely be investigated. My youngest takes after me–we are both hopelessly clumsy and bruise easily.

  28. Dr. Sigmund Droid September 10, 2012 at 2:10 pm #

    Here’s the reality. We have the most wonderful free-range two-year-old boy. He likes to explore, is intellectually curious, spirited, and oft times highly energetic (fun-challenged adults sometimes refer to him in more pejorative terms such as as hyper, out-of-control, and a “real handful”)

    Yes, he sometimes gets bruises, but far fewer than I have gotten with all the times I’ve tripped over the baby gate at the bottom of the stairs!! Maybe I need to have a guardian appointed for myself to protect me from my own clumsiness??

    All I can say to stories like this is, sheesh!! Don’t any of these adults pushing such nonsense remember their own childhoods at all?? Copious amounts of bumps and bruises are part and parcel to growing up!!

    I grew up racing motorcycles and we used to say that if you never fell down, you were never improving. Why?? Because you need to push your existing limits to get better at things in life!! Figuratively and literally, you must fall down and go boom a lot in life to create true greatness in whatever you wish to excel at. And it starts really early, this improvement process. And the government taking an “I Know Better Than You” approach to how we raise our kids is offensive on so many levels . . .

  29. AG September 10, 2012 at 2:14 pm #

    As a kid, I managed to earn the title “miss catastrophe” from pretty much any teacher who had the misfortune of observing me during physical activity. Most memorably, a camp counsler asked me if she had to watch out for me or if I could walk 200meters on the sidewalk without breaking anything (there was precendent for this, I am perfectly capable of tripping over flat surfaces, let alone a sidewalk). I also kept breaking things by tripping/slipping on grass.

    I got so used to crashing that I didn’t even bother telling my parents about injuries unless I suspected something was broken. I just didn’t see the point, it stopped hurting pretty soon and would be gone in a couple of days. Every so often I’d walk around in a towel/underwear and my mother would ask me where the bruises came from. By that point, I usually couldn’t remember anymore…

    My parents would have been in so much trouble if thy had that law here.

  30. Hels September 10, 2012 at 2:15 pm #

    Ah, here comes the bubble wrap. Of the literal, non-metaphorical variety.

  31. Lollipoplover September 10, 2012 at 2:49 pm #

    Soon they will ban these accident-prone kids from playing outside or restrict them to Wii.

  32. Lisa Herrera September 10, 2012 at 2:59 pm #

    When my 22 year old was little she was constantly falling down and getting cuts that required stitches. She fell down the stairs at church and her teeth went through her lip. I can’t remember all what else. Anyway, one time she hit her head and I KNEW it required stitches. I was afraid to take her to the emergency room because of all the past incidents. The wound got infected. It’s all so sad.

  33. Lauren September 10, 2012 at 3:09 pm #

    Holy cow – Good thing my husband grew up in the 90s, or his would surely be on the list! I won’t know how many scars he has from roughousing, wrestling and generally being a clumsy child. His parents had to take him to the emergency room so many times they started getting funny looks from the resident nurses – and they erred pretty far on the “helicoptor parent” side of the spectrum! I can’t (well, yes I can) imagine what a loving parent with independent kids might be called in for.

  34. Dr. Sigmund Droid September 10, 2012 at 3:27 pm #

    I think I have the answer to all this: the development of “Hermetically-Sealed & Completely Hygienic Baby Biosphere Bubbles™”, the product slogan/catchphrase being “NOTHING BAD EVER HAPPENS TO ME!!” Yeah, that’s the ticket!! . . .

    Or maybe we can just go back to the ol’ classic – the padded “Rubber Room™”, inspired by the local funny farm. I mean the way society is telling us to raise kids nowadays, they’re all gonna grow up to be crazy anyway, so we can kill two birds with one stone – 1) “protect” the kids from the cruel world and the laws of physics while they’re young and 2) preparing them for their eventual commitment to psychiatric facility for not being able to cope with the “cruel world” when they are a bit older . . .

  35. Jenny Islander September 10, 2012 at 3:52 pm #

    Unusual bruises have, AFAIK, been grounds for a report for as long as there have been mandatory reporters. What concerns me about this report is the number of bruises being called a cause for concern. If I could get my preschool son to hold still long enough, I bet I could find more than a dozen bruises on his knees right now. They all come from normal outdoor activity. Are we supposed to forbid him to play?

  36. RobynHeud September 10, 2012 at 4:19 pm #

    My husband has been nervous because our toddler will be having his 3 year check up in a couple of months. He is a very active child and bangs his shins on everything. He has one of those indoor horses with the spring suspension, and gets cracked on the shins all the time by the step-up bar. Anyway, he’s nervous because he always has a bruise or scrape of some kind or another. I keep telling him that a good pediatrician will be able to tell the difference between normal childhood bumps and scrapes and actual abuse. After reading this bit (even if it is being blown out of proportion) I hope that’s still true for a long, long time.

  37. joanne September 10, 2012 at 4:37 pm #

    I was at the store recently and noticed a cute little towhead in a shopping cart in front of me. His knees were bruised and he had a scrape on his shin. My first thought was ‘what a rough and tumble little boy’ not ‘omg this kid is neglected!’ Sadly, based on his father’s appearance (tattooed, shaggy haired) I could see someone presuming the worst about dad and neglect.

  38. E. Simms September 10, 2012 at 4:51 pm #

    On the bright side, if you google this issue you’ll find that the report has been roundly criticized in the Australian press and by members of government.

  39. Lollipoplover September 10, 2012 at 6:03 pm #

    For the record, most of my children’s most serious injuries (stitches, bad falls) were under my DIRECT supervision. I was literally right there, but couldn’t prevent injury. Some kids just get more lumps than others. There’s just no preventing it.

  40. Heather Koyuk September 10, 2012 at 6:28 pm #

    My daughter, at 12 1/2, is still very much a rough-n-tumble tomboy sort. She plays soccer very well, and often walks away from practice or her games with several new bruises, scraped knees, etc. She is always asking me, “Mom, do you see a bruise here? I got (kicked by accident in soccer/fell off of the monkey bars at school/scraped myself playing tag/etc.)”. Or, “Mom, look at this bruise!” “Me: “How did that happen?” her: “I have no idea! It doesn’t even hurt!” Of course, she is otherwise well fed, confident, and cheerful – just a very rough-n-tumble girl still (which I definitely encourage!) 🙂

  41. NicoleK September 10, 2012 at 6:48 pm #

    Well, the thing is, your doctor isn’t going to see your kid’s injuries unless you bring him/her in. How many of you bring your kid in every time s/he has a bruise?

    How often does your kid interact with Child Protective Workers? If your kid is being noticed by them isn’t it normally because something else is going on?

  42. Merrick September 10, 2012 at 7:54 pm #

    Oh good lord. Someone had better charge MY parents with neglect… yeah so I’m pushing 40? I am the klutziest woman alive and constantly covered in bumps, bruises, cuts, burns, you name it.
    Last week I dropped a jar of salsa out of my pantry and it shattered all over my foot leaving me several good sized cuts (luckily not needing stitches!)

  43. Donna September 10, 2012 at 11:48 pm #

    NicoleK – Most people your child DOES interact with on a daily basis are mandatory reporters. I don’t worry about my kid’s doctor reporting her. I worry about an overzealous daycare worker, camp counselor or teacher doing so.

  44. C.J. September 10, 2012 at 11:51 pm #

    My daughters are both competitive dancers. Doesn’t sound like an activity that is rough. It is, everytime I’m at the studio there is someone sporting a new bruise, an ice pack, a broken toe. Guess I better not let them dance anymore (sarcasm). At my kids school they are not allowed to play on the playground equipment because the safety standards changed and the equipment doesn’t meet the standards anymore. I just said to my husband the other day maybe if we wrap all the kids in nerf or bubble wrap they will be allowed to play again (sarcasm again). How are kids ever going to learn how to do anything without a few bumps and bruises along the way?

  45. Emily September 11, 2012 at 1:02 am #

    @Joanne–That’s another thing that bugs me. Why do people assume that parents who happen to have tattoos, or go awhile between haircuts, are automatically child abusers?

  46. Doreen Payne September 11, 2012 at 3:40 am #

    I live in Forbes NSW Australia and when my daughter Lily (she is 12 now) when she was 9 she was next door playing with the kids. she fell off the swing really hard and fractured her vertebrae – her lower back. it ended up being that she was born with it and the fall just aggravated it but the receptionists at the drs were going to call DOC’s (Family & Community Services)as kids don’t fall like that they said. luckily that I didn’t her taken off me. they have all the power now and it is easy to lose them but hard to get the kids back.

  47. Brenna September 11, 2012 at 2:17 pm #

    Good Lord, would I be in trouble. Both my kids are like me – they bruise at the drop of a hat. Just this morning I found a baseball sized bruise on my leg and no idea where it came from. My 18 month old son has three bruises on his head right now, from running around and running into things. Never mind all the ones on his legs! My daughter, 6, is covered from playing outside and rough housing with her cousins this weekend. She couldn’t tell somewhere where her bruises came from any more than I could.

  48. KC September 11, 2012 at 2:29 pm #

    I know kids slip through the cracks and it’s really sad they do but this really won’t help things. If anything it’ll probably make it worse since the overwhelmed child protection officers (or whatever they’re called) will have even more cases, most of them being non-cases.

  49. oliviacw September 11, 2012 at 6:59 pm #

    My daughter has just turned 18 months old, and she’s a real rough-and-tumble child, too. When she falls down or gets a bump, she wants a quick hug, but then she’s off charging around again. This week she’s got two knees that are still healing from scrapes (the scabs are gone but the new skin is still pink and shiny), a knot on her forehead from tripping and falling down on a tennis court at the park, a ding on her face where I think she scraped herself with a fingernail, a bruise on her forearm from heaven knows what, a scab on her ankle from kicking a ride-on toy, and assorted small bruises on her legs. About half the stuff happens at day care, and my husband and I are actually diligent about keeping the incident reports from them just in case we do ever get inquiries. Although really, anybody watching her play outside for half an hour would see exactly how she gets herself into all of those situations.

  50. Warren September 11, 2012 at 10:58 pm #

    Other than innocent caring parents being falsely accused, bothered and investigated, the bigger problem will be the time wasted on these mistaken investigations, that could cause the loss of life or serious injury to a child that the system should be protecting.

  51. wellcraftedtoo September 12, 2012 at 5:35 pm #

    My son still has more bruises and ‘marks’ of varying type than most do at his age–at 23 he climbs fourteeners (peaks 14,000 feet or higher) in Colorado for ‘fun’!

    But it wasn’t that long ago that between biking, skateboarding, la crosse and generally horsing around, he, at certain ages, did look, to my eyes, more ‘marked up’ than I liked. But he was that kind of boy, and has grown into a young man who still likes things rough and tumble one day, and then likes (yes, you read that right) getting into a suit and tie the next. His sister is quite the same, although she does treat her body a bit more gently!

    I think a good pediatrician should, and probably usually does, inquire into why a youngster looks ‘somewhat beat up’. It isn’t just screening for abuse, but also to make sure that a child isn’t dealing with self-inflicted injury, or some kind of motor skill deficiency and lack of coordination, or a clotting disorder, or being picked on by other kids, or engaging, for whatever reason, in fighting.

    But that’s a good pediatrician doing his or her job.

    Bruising, per se, as a number here have pointed out, should not be cause for alarm. The issue is how many bruises, where on the body, and what kind of marks are present…

    But that takes discernment and time and training and evaluation on the part of the health care worker.

    So, as is often the case, I suspect that some governmental or school bodies, rather than allowing employees to take their time, and learn how to assess marks on a body, are simply saying, ‘if there are marks, report it’.

    Dumb, but easier.

  52. GoGreenAuntie September 13, 2012 at 7:35 pm #

    Wow. My parents would’ve been in a lot of trouble. I always ran around barefoot in my neighborhood, and I climbed a lot of trees. My mother even let me swim in the neighborhood street when it flooded up to two feet since it didn’t really have a flow to it. I was so accident prone, and I still am. I used to get hit in the face with frisbees, or scrape myself while climbing fences, get hit in the legs or arms with baseballs, and when I was six, I flipped over the handlebars of my bike and scraped my face along the asphalt. My entire left cheek had a huge scab on it later! I didn’t care though, and my parents said that meant I was having a lot of fun, and that it was all a part of growing up. I tell my kids that too, so they don’t mind falling down and getting scraped or bruised anymore.

    I do remember that when I was seven though, after I fell off of my bed and landed on the pointy roof of my dollhouse and had to be taken to the hospital, the doctors accused my parents of being abusive. They said it was because I had so many bruises on my arms and legs. But one would think that they would be able to tell the difference between bruises from abuse and bruises from play. Though, I suppose I can understand why they would ask. But this was in the 90s. I just hope that I never get in trouble for letting my kids be… well, kids. I refuse to deny them a childhood of fun and scrapes.

  53. Stephanie C September 14, 2012 at 5:22 am #

    My son plays Football (American style, not soccer.) After practice and games he shows me all of his new bruises, and trust me the ones he gets on his fore-arms from blocking look very suspicious. My daughter is a cheer leader, and sprains/bruises happen from stunts.

    I agree with the point of where do we draw the line on what is a ‘normal’ amount of bruising? Kids that don’t leave the house may gather fewer bruises, but how healthy are they? mentally and physically?

    A physically active child (bike riding, sports, skateboarding etc) will have bruises, stitches and breaks. Stitches and bruises are better than type 2 diabetes or childhood obesity.

  54. Warren September 14, 2012 at 9:10 pm #

    The big problem is ……… do we retake control of our lives, as parents?

    Where we can raise our kids the way we see fit, without worry of cps, cas, police, busybodies, schools, and other agencies?

    How do we as parents regain control, and remind all these powers that be, that they work and report to us?

    Until we take control of the reigns, we will always be running the risk of offending someone.
    Personally I have no problem with standing my ground and taking the fight back to them. I do realize that it is not that cut and dry for others.
    So how do we get control back? I am not sure, and wish I had the answer.

  55. JP November 24, 2012 at 6:12 pm #

    Well, from the age of 2 to 16 I was a constant messed up mass of bruises, cuts, scrapes, minor scars, sprains, strains and all sorts and forms of assault and battery upon my person. Never an injury that kept me off my feet for more than a day.
    All of it – from being a normal kid. Doing what normal kids do.
    A compulsive helicopter-hover adult would have been driven to the nuthouse by the likes of me. And I would have happily driven them there. (but I was too young – to drive!)
    As many mention here – “marks” are battle-scars to proudly show off – each with its own story. But you’re absolutely right: 90% of them are so innocuous that no busy kid has a clue where they came from.
    One furious Saturday afternoon of street hockey could produce a round dozen of them, easy.

    But then, sad to say – child-protective Industrialists are always looking for new raw material to process. It’s gotta come from somewhere. Have to keep those numbers climbing – justify those revenue transfers.
    Mandated reporters sharp and shrewd, who actually know what they’re doing, can earn my respect anytime. The nuts&bolts and idiots masquerading as the current know-all bunch give me a roaring case of heebie-jeebies.

    The bogeyman exists, and is alive and well – just not under junior’s bed or hiding in his closet.
    Kidspeak: “Notice my bruise? Admire it! Just don’t blame it on anyone but me, or my bike, or that baseball bat….or hockey stick…..or misfired yoyo….or well-aimed snowball………..or whatever else of a physical artifact existing in the real world produced the result. The cardio-vascular workout and resulting burned calories provide every pennyworth of scratch!
    (Thistles against bare ankles – remember them?)

  56. Sia March 17, 2013 at 1:33 pm #

    Yeh…I bruise really easily. I mean, I bumped into a chair the other day and bruised myself. It wasn’t even that hard a bump…I just tend to bruise where others would have been grazed is all.

    Oh god, I’m glad I’m an adult now. Because honestly…8 year old me at school:

    Shows sudden changes in behavior or school performance

    Check. The reason was I started being bullied about that time, though.

    Is always watchful, as though preparing for something bad to happen

    Yep, but again I was waiting for bullies.

    Comes to school or other activities early, stays late,

    Sometimes. I was a notirously poor time keeper though.

    Has unexplained burns, bites, bruises, broken bones, or black eyes

    Check on the bruises and I’m sure I had a couple of black eyes on occasion. My parents were awesome. I was just the kind of kid who had a very poor awareness of the whole ‘body in space’ thing and I got so absorbed in running around, that I honestly forgot to open the door sometimes.

    Lacks sufficient clothing for the weather.

    Did I mention that I lost things a lot?

    Body odor?

    Check. I was quite young when I started … erm … becoming a woman.

    Suddenly refuses to change for gym or to participate in physical activities

    Yup. Again, bullying was the cause there.

    Demonstrates bizarre, sophisticated, or unusual sexual knowledge or behavior

    Yeh… I was reading at three, reading the classics at about 8. I did come across some bizzare things in there and looked them up.

    Shows extremes in behavior, such as overly compliant or demanding behavior, extreme passivity, or aggression
    Is either inappropriately adult (parenting other children, for example) or inappropriately infantile (frequently rocking or head-banging, for example)
    Is delayed in physical or emotional development

    Yep. Nature of my difficulties though. I was the inappropriately infantile there.

    Lacks needed medical or dental care, immunizations, or glasses

    Technically yes. However, it wasn’t a neglectful thing. I think it was middle school we discovered that and only because I was assigned to sit in the back. Until then, I wasn’t aware that something was wrong.


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