Caregivers who have poor parenting skills, little or no parenting
support, or unrealistic expectations of normal behavior for infants or young
children may be more likely to harm a child. They often do not know what
behaviors are normal for babies or young children and have unrealistic
expectations, such as expecting a 9-month-old to sit quietly for a long period
of time or expecting a baby not to cry.
Babies or young children who are difficult to care for, such as those
who have colic, demanding
temperaments, or physical disabilities, may trigger a
loss of control in a frustrated caregiver. A common cause of loss of control is
a crying infant who does not respond to usual measures of comforting.
Caregivers who may be more likely to shake or throw a baby or young
child include people who:
Were abused or neglected as
Have problems with drugs or alcohol.
know how to handle their stress or use unhealthy stress management techniques,
such as violence. Abusive tendencies may surface during stressful periods, such
as when the person is ill or having financial troubles.
mental health problems, such as
depression, that interfere with their ability to
Have no one they can count on for help in caring for the
Have a child with acute or chronic medical or developmental
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.