A new report from the AAP outlines how pediatricians can help promote safe, stable relationships in families and prevent maltreatment.
Pediatricians can play an important role in the prevention of child maltreatment, according to a new report from the American Academy of Pediatrics, which looks at how healthcare professionals can help to strengthen families and promote safe, stable, nurturing relationships with the aim of preventing all types of abuse.
Because of their unique relationship with families, pediatricians “are in an excellent position to help families enhance their ability to protect children and to address factors that put them at increased risk of abuse,” wrote Emalee G. Flaherty, MD, and John Stirling, Jr, MD, in the report, which is published in Pediatrics. Because pediatricians have contact with families during challenging and stressful times, they can become familiar with a family’s stressors and strengths, and provide anticipatory guidance to help prevent abuse.
In the report, Flaherty and Stirling describe some of the triggers and factors that place children at risk for maltreatment, and discuss how pediatricians can identify family strengths, recognize risk factors, provide helpful guidance, and refer families to programs and other resources with the goal of strengthening families, preventing child maltreatment, and enhancing child development.
The authors offer the following guidance for clinicians: