NRS-434VN 2 DQ 1 Child abuse and maltreatment Essay

Child abuse and maltreatment is not limited to a particular age—it can occur in the infant, toddler, preschool, and school-age years. Choose one of the four age groups and outline the types of abuse most commonly seen among children of that age. Describe warning signs and physical and emotional assessment findings the nurse may see that could indicate child abuse. Discuss cultural variations of health practices that can be misidentified as child abuse. Describe the reporting mechanism in your state and nurse responsibilities related to the reporting of suspected child abuse.


Research indicates that infants under 12 months old are at the most risk for serious physical abuse (Cannel & Holick, 2018). The warning signs for physical abuse in infants include a non-ambulatory infant with any injury; injury inconsistent with the infant’s physical abilities; bruises on the torso, ear, or neck; burns to genitalia; caregiver being unconcerned about the injury; an unexplained delay in seeking care, as well as inconsistencies in histories provided (Cannel & Holick, 2018). Physical assessment findings that may indicate child abuse in infants include bruising in non-ambulatory infants especially in the face, head, or genitals. Retinal hemorrhages and subdural hematomas may be suggestive of abusive head trauma, a form of child abuse with the highest mortality rate (more than 20 percent). Also, fractures such as posterior and lateral rib fractures, sternal, spinal, and scapular fractures in non-ambulatory infants may indicate abuse (Cannel & Holick, 2018).

Cupping and coining are ancient healing practices still being practiced today, especially by Russian immigrants and Vietnamese Americans, respectively (Killion, 2017). Cupping typically involves applying a heated cup to the back reportedly to draw out the ailment. Cupping leaves circular burns and bruises from the heat and suction effect which can be mistaken for abuse. Coining, on the other hand, involves rubbing the edge of a coin on oiled skin which results in linear patches that may be interpreted as abuse.

Since they are in frequent contact with children, nurses are mandatory reporters under the North Carolina State Law. They must report cases of suspected child abuse or neglect immediately or within 24 hours to the local Department of Social Services (DSS) in the county where the child resides or is found. This should be followed by filling a mandated reporter form online (Kids Place Incorporated, 2013).



Cannell, J. J., & Holick, M. F. (2018). Multiple unexplained fractures in infants and child physical abuse. The Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology175, 18-22.

Kids Place Incorporated. (2013). How to make a child abuse report.

Killion, C. M. (2017). Cultural healing practices that mimic child abuse. Annals of Forensic Research and Analysis, 4(2), 1042.


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