Abuse vs. Accident

Distinguishing Abuse from AccidentYoung Girl on a Wooden Swing

To report child abuse and neglect in Lucas County, call (419) 213-CARE.

The very nature of childhood invites accidents. Children are curious and fearless. They run, climb, jump, and explore. Children's motor skills usually outpace their cognitive skills, allowing them to approach danger without recognizing it. How can you distinguish between the accidental injury caused by the exuberance of childhood from the non-accidental injury caused by the abuse of an adult?

If an injury is accidental, there should be a reasonable explanation of how it happened.

When observing injury you suspect might be the result of abuse, consider:
  • Where is the injury?
  • How many injuries does the child have?
  • What are the size and shape of the injury?
  • Does the description of how the injury occurred seem likely?
  • Is the injury consistent with the child's developmental capabilities?
  • Accidents do happen.

Read more about distinguishing abuse from accident, courtesy of the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.