(4) Observation of parent-infant interactions. Studies have shown that
observing mothers and infants can indicate whether the infant will be physically abused
or neglected. Primary care physicians and other health care personnel can observe the
way mothers treat their infants, develop skill in making these observations, and
subsequently find help for those parents who seem to lean toward child abuse.
(5) "Immunization" of children against abuse. There have been programs in
recent years that try to teach children how to react to one form of abuse--sexual abuse.
Such programs have been presented to very young children in school settings. The
goals are to define sexual abuse for the child and teach the child what to do if someone
tries to abuse him.
b. Common Sense Rules for Children. Teach children how to protect
themselves against sexual abuse. Children who are old enough to understand can be
taught these common sense rules.
(1) Be alert. Tell children to be aware of the behavior of other people and to
be careful. Children should remember:
(a) Don't believe strangers who tell the child they were sent by the
child's father or mother to pick the child up.
(b) Avoid being alone with any person who wants to touch the child in a
(c) Don't be too trusting. Avoid contacts with strangers or other adults
who seem suspiciously friendly; don't accept gifts, don't let anyone touch him, don't let a
strange adult join in play.
(2) Avoid dangerous situations. Tell children how to avoid letting others
take advantage of them.
(a) Don't play alone in deserted areas or use public restrooms alone.
(b) Don't open the door at all when you are home alone.
Don't talk to people you don't know on the telephone.
(3) Discuss problem encounters with parents. Request that your children
tell you if anything like the following occurs:
(a) Any unusual or suspicious sexual behavior the child has seen or