April is Child Abuse Awareness Month

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month
By Capt. Megan Fitzsimmons, Pediatric Clin

April is Child Abuse Prevention month, and the Air Force is empowering families to triumph over childhood violence.

According to experts from the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, more than 740,000 children are treated in emergency rooms as a result of violence every year; that is more than 84 children each hour. Every year, more than three million reports of child abuse are received by state and local agencies – a staggering six reports every minute.

The key to avoiding childhood violence is prevention. Families who have stable and nurturing relationships are less likely to experience childhood violence in their homes than families who are unstable.

Children need parents who can identify and provide for their needs. Parenting can be difficult and stressful, and sometimes they need support, resources, and guidance to take the best possible care of their children.

There are several protective factors that can help lower the incidence of child abuse:

· Build a strong bond with your children by making time to do activities together.
· Find the best positive coping strategies for your family.
· Enforce discipline with clear limits and boundaries for children older than 15 months of age – with expectations based on their age and development.
· Understand the basic development of a child’s age.
· Recognize your own limitations and know when to ask for help.
· Be socially active! Being active is healthy for both parents and children.
· Have a good support system and know who to call if there are questions or problems.

These protective measures are important for families since they reinforce one another.
· Child Welfare Information Gateway website: http://www.childwelfare.gov
· National Parent Helpline: 1 (855) 427-2736 or http://www.nationalparenthelpline.org
· Born Learning: http://www.bornlearning.org
· Parents Anonymous: 903-629-7588 or http://www.parentsanonymous.org.



Purchase blue pinwheels that symbolize Child Abuse Awareness. Put them on your lawns in front of your house. Put them in your place of employment. Put them out for all to see and become Aware of Child Prevention. There are also Pins and bracelets to help spread this important message with everyone. There are many places on the internet that sell them. I know that Amazon sells them also. We can all do our part and acknowledge  April as Child Abuse Awareness and bring attention to this terrible crime against children.





I know stress is not healthy but I don’t have the power to chase it away either. I wish that I did. Sadly we are not superheroes. There is a lot going on in my life right now. Exciting things and lots of changes. It’s funny how life has its twists and turns and even a few drop-offs. The road to life is riddled with pits and stones to cause us to stumble. Honestly, though I think that when our life hits a bump in the road it might be a blessing in disguise. Sometimes we need to just sit back, take a breath and just check in with ourselves, ask questions. Why did I just fall, could it be saying, “maybe I am moving to fast and or making a wrong decision. We all could be like Robert Frost who said, “I saw two roads diverged in a wood and I chose the one less traveled by and it has made all the difference.” But that was his choice. It may not necessarily be our choice of direction.
How do I know if I am really going down the right road right now? Yes, there are problems that need to be resolved. So I think that for just now I will examine where I am going and where I’ve been. I mean really examine them. There are a lot of roads in life. There are freeways that cars are driving so fast that you wonder where they are going in such a hurry. Have they missed their life? There are roads that are all overgrown as if no one has been there in a long, long while. What’s wrong with this road. I can wonder about this overgrown road while choosing another. Is there a right road or a wrong road in life? I have heard many people ask that question. I don’t really know if they get their answer. It’s all just about choices. It can be because we have to stop and help a family member out. It’s not where we thought we would go but it was important that we did. I know that women always say, “why is it so hard for guys to ask for direction.” But in life, at times, I think we all are a little unsure of our direction. Some just go with the flo………whatever that means. Some stay on a determined path of success. Personally, I want to go down the road that makes God happy and me happy and my family happy. I want the road that my heavenly father wants for me. Only then will I truly be happy.