Although much attention is paid to the safety of infants and toddlers, their sudden jabs, bites, head-butts and kicks can inflict injuries on caregivers, usually parents, reports today’s New York Times. ” After her 2-year-old daughter “clocked” her under the eye, leaving a significant shiner, Alaina Webster, 31, coined a term on her blog to describe this common problem: “unintentional parent abuse.”
“In a “public service announcement” on the blog, Absolute Uncertainties, Ms. Webster called for battered parents to rise up: “Will you fight back against the 2-foot 6-inch tyrants taking over our subdivisions, or will you continue to let unsuspecting parents be beaten into submission simply for loving their child too closely?”
“According to emergency room physicians, pediatricians and other experts, U.P.A. is no laughing matter. With unpredictable infants and toddlers, meals, bath time or even cuddles can go terribly wrong. Though statistics for injuries caused by young children are difficult to find, parents routinely suffer concussions, chipped teeth, corneal abrasions, nasal fractures, cut lips and torn earlobes, among other injuries.
“You’re dealing with wonderful human beings who can’t be reasoned with, who are impulsive, who are stronger and faster than you think they are, and don’t understand consequences of their actions,” said Dr. Benjamin Hoffman, medical director of the Tom Sargent Children’s Safety Center at Doernbecher Children’s Hospital in Portland, Ore. My wife, Penny Blatt, 46, learned the hard way. Last fall, while she was playing in bed with our 3-year-old son, Milo, he impersonated a missile and scored a direct hit on my wife’s nose with his head, fracturing it in two places.
“Bobble-headed babies pose a particular risk, but even after infants gain head control at about 6 months, parents must remain vigilant. “Even toddlers, who have great control but are not physically aware of their bodies — it’s very easy for them to accidentally bonk their head into you,” said Dr. Allison Brindle, a pediatrician at Cleveland Clinic Children’s Hospital.”