Preventing Child Abuse and Neglect: Abusive Head Trauma Series (Day 1)


Coping with Crying Public Service Announcement from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Yesterday I said I would be launching a series on Preventing Child Abuse and Neglect.  I shared Preventing Child Abuse and Neglect: A Technical Package for Policy, Norm, and Programmatic Activities with you.

The state legislature has recently mandated this topic be added the pre-service training in Section 746.1307 of Minimum Standards for Child Care Centers. Click TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF FAMILY AND PROTECTIVE SERVICES MINIMUM STANDARDS REVISION NOTICE to read the memo regarding the new regulations.  stephaniElearning has updated the curriculum to reflect the new mandates.

What is Abusive Head Trauma?

Abusive Head Trauma (AHT) includes head injuries from child abuse, such as Shaken Baby Syndrome. It is the leading cause in death in babies and is the most common reason abused children are admitted to the hospital. It is also the most common cause of long-term disability related to abuse.

AHT includes shaking, dropping, throwing, or directly hitting a child’s head. It is also referred to as inflicted traumatic brain injury, shaken impact syndrome, shaken brain trauma, pediatric traumatic brain injury, and whiplash shaken infant syndrome (The Arc, 2015; Nemours Foundation, 2014).

Is AHT Preventable?

Yes it is completely preventable but how do we do this?  Education and support is the answer.  We as child care providers must educate new parents and offer support and tools to help them deal with the demands of crying babies and frustration.  Shaking a baby sometimes may seem like a viable solution because they often quit crying.  Many new parents or caregivers do not know how to handle an inconsolable crying.

In today’s entry we will learn some things we can do to prevent abuse and some tips in handling the inconsolable child.

First, we can provide quality child care and make it affordable and accessible to all. Quality child care increases the likelihood that children will experience safe, stable, nurturing relationships and reduce the risk of abuse.  Quality child care also reduces parental stress that often leads to abuse.

Second, we can provide early childhood education in our centers. Involving parents reduces stress and gives them tools they need to deal with their circumstances.

Stress Management for Parents

25 Ways to Handle the Stress of a New Baby

How To Prevent Shaken Baby Syndrome

Now for some tips on dealing with the inconsolable child. Most of the time there is a reason for the crying that we can remedy but sometimes a child cries and there is nothing we can do.  Have you ever had that day that nothing was wrong but you were just unhappy.  Sometimes children cannot be consoled and we must simply stay near but let them cry. Sometimes it is not “fixable”.  In those times, we must put the child in a safe place and let him or her cry for 5 to 10 minutes. Check on the child regularly but walk away for a few minutes and gain your composure.  Take 10 deep breaths and relax. If that doesn’t do it, call for help. As child care providers, have a back up person that you can call if you are becoming overwhelmed.  As a parent, create a network of people that you can help and that can help you when you become stressed and feel out of control. It is okay to take time for yourself and take care of yourself.  You cannot take care of your baby if you are out of control.

Here are some common reasons babies cry.

12 Reasons Babies Cry and How to Soothe them 

  1. Hunger
  2. Stomach problems from colic and gas
  3. Needs to burp
  4. A dirty diaper
  5. Needs sleep
  6. Wants to be held
  7. Too cold or too hot
  8. Something painful and hard to notice
  9. Teething pain
  10. Wants less stimulation
  11. Wants more stimulation
  12. Not feeling well


  1. Teething– a very common cause of fussiness in infants age 4 months to 2 years. Other signs of teething include vigorous chewing on hands or toys, drooling, and bulging gums.
  2. Ear infections– if your child has a worsening cold and possibly a fever, then suddenly develops fever and unusual fussiness during the night, an ear infection is a possibility. However, if your child does NOT have cold symptoms and fever, then it’s probably not an ear infection. Click on ear infection for more info.
  3. Upset stomach– in breastfed infants, occasionally your baby’s stomach may get upset by something mom ate earlier in the day. This can cause severe gas pains, which can last for hours. Click on colic below for more info.
  4. Colic– this is inconsolable crying in young infants which occurs daily and lasts for several hours. Click on it for more info.
  5. Insect bite– these can be painful, especially spider bites.
  6. Mouth sores– a virus called coxsackie (hand, foot and mouth disease) can cause high fever and canker sores throughout the mouth which are very painful. Click on it for more info.
  7. Sore throat– a very bad sore throat can be a cause of fussiness.
  8. Scratched eye– sometimes an infant can accidentally scratch her eye, which can be very painful. A red, tearing eye can clue you in to this.
  9. Hair tourniquet – this occurs when a piece of long hair gets inadvertently wrapped around your child’s toe and strangles the tip of the toe, causing swelling, pain, and bleeding. You should seek medical attention within a couple of hours so the hair can be pulled or cut out.

As a child care provider, you are responsible for keeping children safe and healthy.  You are required by law to report abuse and ensure children are safe in your care and at home. Pay attention and offer help when you see a parent struggling. You are a trained professional with knowledge that can be shared.

Need Annual Training Hours? Click here to complete test over the material covered and request a Certificate of Completion for .25 Annual Training Hours for only $5 . After purchasing, be sure to click the Return to Merchant or Return to stephaniElearning link to receive your password and link to the quiz.

Each Caregiver must complete 1 hour of training every year in the area of Child Abuse & Neglect. Take four of the series quizzes to meet the requirement. Certificate of Completion for .25 Annual Training Hours for only $5  (Registered Trainer – Mastered Professional – Stephanie Wilkinson -#1499)


Abusive Head Trauma (Shaken Baby Syndrome): A Guide for Child Care Providers,
Texas A&M Agrilife Extension (

Child Care Courses Child Care Training e-learning Minimum Child Care Standards Online Child Care Training Registered Trainer Texas Uncategorized

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I am an educator in every facet of my life. I teach early childhood education in the classroom and online as well as develop online training and professional development for employers. I also teach homeschoolers literature and homeschool my 17 year old son who graduates in May.

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