1. Unexplained Bruises
Kids get bruises all the time: they trip, crash their bike, etc. But then you see bruises in certain places, typically on their shins or knees, occasionally under their forearms. Rarely does a child have a natural accident and end up with bruises on their back, shoulders, upper arms, thighs, or similar without someone else being involved.
2. Injuries that Don’t Make Sense
Similar to bruises, there are other injuries that might not make sense. Frequent broken bones or odd broken bones are one such injury. Burns in the size or shape of cigarettes or cigars or with unique patterns like the flat part of an iron are characteristic of abuse, not accidents. Accidents usually result in an irregular pattern, not something round or distinct.
3. Changes in Attitudes or Behavior
If a child has historically done well at school but starts earning poor grades, that may be an indicator that something is wrong at home. If she used to have a positive or well-behaved manner and starts acting up, it may be a sign that she is dealing with other problems.
4. Avoidance of Home
When a kid suddenly starts trying to avoid going home, this is a big red flag as well. Too many after-school practices or tutorials may look like an engaged student but if that same child is hesitant to talk about his parents or if he stays too long or late, they may be avoiding going home because bad things are happening there.
5. Associated Abuse or Neglect
Child abuse can happen without any other associated abuse or neglect happening and the opposite can occur, too. But if you know a parent has a drug or alcohol problem, that neglect is occurring, that animal abuse is occurring, or that there is domestic violence in the house, that child is at a greater risk.
Remember, you don’t need to know a child is being abused to report it, you just need to have reason to suspect. If you do, let the professionals investigate.