Physical Child Abuse
During COVID Crisis

SBAR: Increased Risk of Child Physical Abuse During the COVID-19 Crisis


Situation: The current shutdown of schools, after school and day care facilities, and many in-home services places children at a significantly increased risk for abuse.  Parents and caregivers are isolated, stressed, and lack access to usual sources of support. In addition, many frontline providers in our community who may recognize the signs of possible abuse no longer have direct contact with children.


Background: Parental and caregiver stress is a known risk factor for physical abuse. Financial strain also is a known risk factor: the recession of 2007-2009 led to increased numbers of babies with abusive head trauma across multiple  regions of the country.* Infants and toddlers are at highest risk for serious physical abuse and are unable to speak for themselves.


Assessment: Emergency Medicine providers who see children must remain vigilant to identify possible signs of physical abuse.



  1. Use the Matrix (below) to improve recognition of injuries suggestive of abuse for infants younger than 12 months old.

  2. Call on our Child Abuse Clinicians for advice: the Yale DART team 203-688-2468 or through Y-access 888-YNHH-BED (888-964-4233) for any child of any age for whom you suspect abuse or neglect.

  3. Call the DCF Careline at the dedicated hospital line 860-550-6515 if you suspect abuse or neglect for any child of any age for whom you as a mandated reporter have a reasonable suspicion of abuse or neglect.

We hope that you and your families are doing well during this challenging and scary time. Be sure to wash hands often, don't touch your face, practice social distancing and only go out if necessary. In case a child does not feel well, please refer to the parent messsage  below.

Much health,

COVID-19: Special Message to Parents

Children with Special Healthcare Needs


On Thursday, June 18, 2020 from 4:00pm - 5:00pm, Marietta Vazquez, MD, Vice Chair for the Pediatric Office of Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion and Marion Miller, MBA, Chair of the Employee Engagement Committee will lead lead an open discussion and community dialogue on racism, racist violence, and their continued impact upon our working community and our living community in general.

We are sharing two articles for you to read as background for Thursday's event. This will not be a meeting to specifically discuss these articles, but for you to use them to help frame the conversations - to share, learn, and listen.



For additional information and updates on Coronavirus:

Connecticut Department of Health


ACEP Covid Resource Center

OPENPediatrics has developed a public COVID portal with links to up to date articles and other resources.  It also has links to the OPENPediatrics resources about pediatric critical care management including intubation, ventilation management and ECMO. 

The Center for Pediatric Traumatic Stress, part of the National Child Traumatic Stress Network, has just developed some resources that may be relevant for the EMSC community, related to managing stress / psychological impact of COVID-19:  

  • for healthcare staff

  • for families (esp where child has existing health concerns)

The slidesets are downloadable as pdfs. If you would like to receive them as a PPT file or QR codes for parent tipsheets (English & Spanish) please contact Nancy Kassam-Adams

Children don't decide their circumstances or where they live. They cannot influence how the emergency medical system works available when they are ill or injured... but YOU CAN.


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