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What are the signs of child neglect?

Signs of child neglect include the following in children:
  • clothing that is the wrong size, in disrepair, dirty or not right for the weather
  • often hungry, stockpiles food, seeks food, may even show signs of malnutrition (like distended belly, protruding bones)
  • very low body weight, height for age
  • often tired, sleepy, listless
  • hygiene problems, body odor
  • talks about caring for younger siblings, not having a caregiver at home
  • untreated medical and dental problems, incomplete immunizations
  • truancy, frequently incomplete homework, frequent changes of school
Children who are being neglected may show typical signs of abuse, such as changes in behavior, learning problems or recurrent illness or injury. They may also be absent from school, show poor hygiene and beg for or steal food or money. They may be lacking in weather-appropriate clothing and regular medical care.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.