What are the signs of physical abuse in children?

Signs of physical abuse in children include the following:

  • any injury to a child who is not crawling yet
  • visible and severe injuries
  • injuries at different stages of healing
  • injuries on different surfaces of the body
  • injuries unexplained or explained in a way that doesn’t make sense
  • injury with a distinctive shape
  • frequency, timing and history of injuries (frequent, after weekends, vacations, school absences)
  • aggression toward peers, pets, other animals
  • seems afraid of parents or other adults
  • fear, withdrawal, depression, anxiety
  • wears long sleeves out of season
  • violent themes in fantasy, art, etc.
  • nightmares, insomnia
  • reports injury, severe discipline
  • immaturity, acting out, emotional and behavior extremes
  • self-destructive behavior or attitudes

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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.