In Maryland, Martin Rutter, 21-year-old, is charged with first degree assault for child abuse stemming from shaking of his infant daughter on the evening of Tuesday, October 28, 2008. According to investigators, Mr. Rutter allegedly critically injured his daughter out of frustration when she would not stop crying. She was initially and emergently taken to Nanticoke Memorial Hospital. Advanced life support measures were use to stabilize her airway and then she was transported to DuPont Hospital. The infant girl remains in critical condition.
Feelings of stress and frustration are normal while caring for infants and children, however acting out in a harmful way towards the infant or child is not acceptable. The caregiver should focus on developing an abuse-prevention plan for dealing with feelings of stress and frustration that may emerge in the presence of the infant or the child. The abuse-prevention plan should include a cooling off period and developing an effective coping behavior that prevents physical abuse from occurring. It is best for families to be proactive and make an effort to provide a supportive environment for caregivers with children by assisting with childcare and allowing the caregiver respite. And the caregiver should not hesitate to ask family members and friends to assist with childrearing. It takes more than one person to care for an infant or raise a child. If you or someone you know has difficulty managing anger than utilizing community programs may be necessary if the family is not supportive. Please don’t hesitate to contact an organization in your community to assist you with childcare and respite issues. Please seek assistance if you feel overwhelmed by stress. If you know someone that has expressed frustration and is feeling overwhelmed, reach out and assist in any way that you can. Communication is essential to preventing child abuse. Remember approximately four million children are abused annually. Less than half of those cases get reported (http://rad.usuhs.mil:80/rad/home/peds/pedindex.html). Seeking assistance before an injury occurs is not a crime.