Skip to content

    Health & Parenting

    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    Caregivers Who May Harm a Baby or Young Child

    Caregivers who have poor parenting skills, little or no parenting support, or unrealistic expectations of normal behavior for infants or young children may be more likely to harm a child. They often do not know what behaviors are normal for babies or young children and have unrealistic expectations, such as expecting a 9-month-old to sit quietly for a long period of time or expecting a baby not to cry.

    Babies or young children who are difficult to care for, such as those who have colic, demanding temperaments, or physical disabilities, may trigger a loss of control in a frustrated caregiver. A common cause of loss of control is a crying infant who does not respond to usual measures of comforting.

    Caregivers who may be more likely to shake or throw a baby or young child include people who:

    • Were abused or neglected as children.
    • Have problems with drugs or alcohol.
    • Do not know how to handle their stress or use unhealthy stress management techniques, such as violence. Abusive tendencies may surface during stressful periods, such as when the person is ill or having financial troubles.
    • Have mental health problems, such as depression, that interfere with their ability to cope.
    • Have no one they can count on for help in caring for the baby.
    • Have a child with acute or chronic medical or developmental problems.

    ByHealthwise Staff
    Primary Medical ReviewerJohn Pope, MD - Pediatrics
    Specialist Medical ReviewerChuck Norlin, MD - Pediatrics

    Current as ofNovember 14, 2014

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: November 14, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

    Today on WebMD

    Girl holding up card with BMI written
    Is your child at a healthy weight?
    toddler climbing
    What happens in your child’s second year.
     
    father and son with laundry basket
    Get your kids to help around the house.
    boy frowning at brocolli
    Tips for dealing with mealtime mayhem
     
    mother and daughter talking
    Tool
    child brushing his teeth
    Slideshow
     
    Sipping hot tea
    Slideshow
    Young woman holding lip at dentists office
    Video
     
    Which Vaccines Do Adults Need
    Article
    rl with friends
    fitSlideshow
     
    tissue box
    Quiz
    Child with adhd
    Slideshow