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Medical conditions that people mistake as signs of infant abuse

On Behalf of | Jun 24, 2023 | DCFS Matters |

State agencies, healthcare providers, childcare providers and even early educational professionals may all intervene in family matters if they believe a child’s safety is at risk. Illinois law mandates that certain professionals report their concerns to the state.

Unfortunately, sometimes these professionals make mistakes and reach the conclusion that abuse has occurred when there is a perfectly reasonable explanation that has nothing to do with parental misconduct. For example, some children have health issues that might actually look like abuse initially to other people.

Hemophilia and other bleeding disorders

The human body can generally repair most minor injuries quickly, but some people lack this ability. Those with bleeding disorders, like hemophilia, often bleed uncontrollably after even minor injuries. Infants and children with bleeding disorders might develop extensive, severe bruising from minor injuries. This might make it look like the child has experienced protracted and repeated physical abuse when, truthfully, they just had a very rough playdate at the playground with their cousin.

Musculoskeletal disorders

Although it is rare, there are some children born with lower bone density than others and who are more prone to fractures as a result. There are other children who may have conditions that affect their coordination and motor skill development. Both their delays in progressing in development and the injuries they may sustain because of motor function challenges or weak skeletal systems might lead outsiders to assume that there has been some kind of abuse in the household when the child truly has had support at every turn.

There are many rare conditions that might increase the likelihood of a child suffering severe injuries or affect their development in a way that makes professionals suspect abuse. Inflammatory disorders, congenital conditions that affect the connective tissue or bones and even vitamin C deficiency can all sometimes lead to false suspicions of child abuse. Seeking legal guidance and obtaining appropriate medical evidence will often be important steps for parents who are trying to fight back against child abuse allegations caused by a child’s unusual medical condition.