Chapter 11 Promoting Children’s Safety
Copyright Goodheart-Willcox Co., Inc.
When children are not given the basic needs
of life, they suffer from neglect. Neglect takes
many forms. A neglected child may be deprived
of proper food, medical and dental care, shelter,
and/or clothing. Children who have been
unsupervised may also be neglected. Neglect
may or may not be intentional on the part of
the abuser. However, the potential for harm is
Children who wear clothing that is too small
or dirty may be neglected. Neglected children
may also wear clothes that are inappropriate for
the weather. They may lack warm coats, gloves,
or hats for the winter. Children who are poorly
groomed may also be neglected.
Other signs of neglect may appear in a child’s
health. Neglect may result in children who are
too thin or malnourished. These children may
ask to take food home. Constant fatigue, illness,
or poor dental care may be other signs of neglect.
These children may have a bad odor. This may
be due to a lack of bathing. Wearing dirty clothes
could also contribute to bad odor.
Alert teachers should observe for signs of
neglect. They must be sensitive to different child-
rearing practices as well as cultural expectations
and priorities. Signs of possible neglect include
the following:
the child often arrives early or is picked
up late
the child wears inappropriate or unclean
the child seems always hungry
medical needs are unmet
poor hygiene often results in odor
the child appears fatigued or falls asleep
Derek is a neglected child. He often arrives
early or is picked up late. His teacher observed
that he appeared small for his age. After
observing him for several more months, she noted
developmental lags. He appeared to be lagging
behind many of his same-age peers. Often he
would ask when snack or lunch would be served.
During cooking activities, he would try to eat or
take food. He also complained of being hungry.
Derek lacked proper nutrition. As a result, he was
constantly fatigued and sometimes fell asleep.
Observing these signs, Derek’s teachers
suspected neglect. They compared information
and shared their concerns. As child care teachers,
they knew they were required to report suspected
child abuse. They knew Derek would never reach
his full potential without proper nutrition.
Emotional Abuse
Emotional abuse is abuse of a child’s self-
concept through words or actions. Children lose
self-esteem due to emotional abuse. Excessive
or inappropriate demands may be made on the
children by parents or guardians. This can cause
emotional harm to children. Emotional abuse is
the result of insuffi cient love, guidance, and/or
support from parents or guardians.
Children who are emotionally abused may
repeat certain behavior over several months. Look
for the following signs:
refusal to talk
unusual or unpredictable behavior
rare smiling or laughter
excessive clinging or crying
withdrawn behavior
destructive behavior
poor motor coordination for age
fear of adults
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Informing Staff About Toxic
The Occupational Safety and Health
Administration (OSHA) requires employers
to keep early childhood teachers and care
providers informed about the presence and
use of any toxic materials in use in a facility.
This includes ingredients in art materials and
sanitizing products. Employers can get the
latest information about such products from the
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) or the
Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).
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