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Child Abuse Awareness & Prevention Month & Why it Matters to Buncombe County


The month of April is Child Abuse Awareness and Prevention month.  In 2013 there were 814 confirmed child abuse and neglect cases in Safe sleep for baby prevents SIDS.Buncombe County and over half of these cases involved children under the age of six.  Maltreatment of children happens across all cultural, racial and economic lines.

Children growing up in safe and nurturing environments have a leg up on those that don’t.  In fact, the research shows that children who grow up exposed to stress and violence are more likely to develop serious health issues such as heart disease and diabetes. Buncombe County Health and Human Services continues to build community–wide supports that help make the safe and healthy choice the easy choice. 
This month, we are focusing on four key areas that can save a child’s life:

  1. Choose your caregiver carefully… and then think again
  2. Never shake a baby
  3. Ask for help – Good Parents are made – not born
  4. Preventing SIDS – Practice Safe Sleep

CHOOSE YOUR CAREGIVER CAREFULLY & THEN THINK AGAIN…

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, a child’s chance of dying as a result of abuse is 6 to 8 times higher when living with a non-related caregiver in the home (e.g., mom’s boyfriend). Knowing and trusting who you leave a child with is one of the single most important safety measures you can take to prevent abuse and neglect especially for children under six.  Oftentimes this requires a single mom to realize that a boyfriend may not have the ability to care for a baby that is fussy or hard to handle. Sometimes single parents can be put in a difficult position.  Who is going to care for their child as they scramble to make it to work on time?  Who you leave your child with is one of the most important decisions you make as a caregiver.  If you have a concern as a neighbor or a family member, speak up about the importance of choosing the right caregiver. 

NEVER EVER SHAKE A BABY

It is normal for a baby to cry, even for long periods at a time. This can cause anxiety for caregivers but under no circumstances should you ever shake a baby. It only takes a second of shaking a crying baby to cause brain damage or death.

Buncombe County Health and Human Services partnered with Mission Health to ensure that all new parents watch the Purple Crying Period – an instructional video on newborns and crying.  If you think someone close to you is having a hard time with a baby, reach out to let them know that help is available.  Please call our prevention line at (828-250-6000) to access support.

ASK FOR HELP WITH PARENTING – GOOD PARENTS ARE MADE, NOT BORN

We all need a little help sometimes.  Parents and kids thrive in nurturing environments that are supportive and safe.  You can take steps today that can make all the difference in the life of your child.

  • Get help and learn skills to be a more effective and nurturing caregiver for your child.  Buncombe County Health and Human Services is supporting a community-wide effort to make it easier for parents – all parents – to ask for and find support. Triple P – Positive Parenting Program is a proven method to help individuals deal with parenting issues. Visit www.triplep-parenting.net for more information.
  • Talk to your child.  Use every opportunity to explain to your child the world around them – point out colors, count their toes.  Go for a walk outside, visit one of our county parks, or read a book with the kids in your life. This type of bonding helps kids build healthy brains. Call 211 to find out what activities are available in our community (many of these don’t cost a dime).
  • If you are a caregiver, take care of yourself. Be sure to create a healthy lifestyle for yourself so that you can care for the people that you love to the best of your ability. Fostering healthy relationships with friends and family are a big part of making sure that you and your children are protected. 
  • In addition, Health and Human Services is working to provide supports for new parents and families.  Programs like the Nurse Family Partnership, school-based teams of nurses and social workers, Community Service Navigators, and trauma and resiliency screening are all part of an effort to build resilient families in our community.

PREVENT SIDS: PRACTICE SAFE SLEEP

Safe sleep practices can prevent SIDS. Babies should sleep alone in a crib on their back with only a fitted crib sheet. Also be sure that toys, bumpers, and extra blankets are removed.  Getting the word out into the community through partnerships that serve young mothers such as Nurse Family Partnership, Community Service Navigators, and social workers can help to remind new parents of the importance of safe sleep.  All of us can help to get the word out.

NO MATTER WHO YOU ARE – YOU CAN HELP KEEP KIDS SAFE IN OUR COMMUNITY

  • Concerned about the safety of a child?  Call (828) 250-5900 to report suspected abuse or neglect.  One call can connect children and parents to the supports they need to keep their child safe.  Protect those that can’t speak up for themselves!
  • Good Parents are made not born.  We all need a little parenting help sometimes. Visit www.triplep-parenting.net to find parenting help in Buncombe County.
  • Need to connect yourself or someone you know to resources for parents? Call (828) 250-6000 to speak confidentially with someone that can help.
  • Children's health issues? www.youfindservices.org is an easy to use website that can connect you to special health care services for your child.
  • Materials for Buncombe County: The rack cards below are designed to help our community take action on these 4 basic child safety measures.
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