Physical Child Abuse

By Vanessa Rasmussen, © 2004, All rights reserved.

Physical abuse is a form of child maltreatment (a broad category of behavior that also includes sexual abuse, emotional abuse, and neglect). As a general rule, physical abuse refers to the infliction of physical harm on a child by a parent or caregiver. Any physical punishment that causes injury to a child or any non-accidental use of violence or poison that causes injury or death to a child can be regarded as physical abuse. Physical abuse often occurs simultaneously with other forms of child maltreatment.

Examples of abusive treatment of children include: hitting with an object, kicking, burning, scalding, punching, and threatening or attacking with weapons.

Following are some of the indicators of physical abuse:

Physical abuse can cause a child a great deal of physical as well as emotional pain and may lead to physical handicaps, brain damage, slow development and even death.

If you suspect that a child is been physically abused you can take the following steps:

If you are running a daycare, dealing with child abuse is emotionally difficult. A child care provider should get training in recognizing and reporting child abuse before they are confronted with a suspected case.

Copyright 2001, 2004. All rights reserved. Any reproduction of this article in whole or in part without written or verbal permission is strictly prohibited. For information about reprinting this article, contact the copyright owner: Vanessa Rasmussen, Ph.D, Starting a Day Care Center,