Sexual abuse happens to children in America everyday. You may think your child is safe, but even toddlers can be victims of sexual predators. Most of the time, the perpetrator is someone the child knows and is supposed to trust. Keep your child safe, but be alert for any signs of sexual abuse in your toddler. Here’s what to look out for.
- Check for physical signs. It is unmistakable. Check your child’s genitalia and anus. If you notice any redness, bleeding, bruising and soreness, she may have been abused.
- Observe if your child has difficulty walking or sitting down. This may be because of soreness in his genitalia.
- A urinary tract infection can be a sign of abuse.
- Check for any sudden behavioral changes such as fear of a particular person or place. Your child may suddenly not want to play in the playground or not want to go to someone’s house or even the daycare, even if you have gone there many times before.
- Your child may also exhibit anger, frustration and moodiness. She may start to act withdrawn. Toddlers do not have the same level of communication skills as older children and grownups and may not be able to verbalize their feelings so they will act out. Before getting upset, find out what is wrong.
- Be sensitive to any unusual behavior or requests. If your child doesn’t want to disrobe in front of you, or asks to put on several layers of underwear, these are warning signs. See if your child wants to keep her coat or jacket on even if it is very warm. She may not want you to see his body or change his diaper.
- Listen for any verbal cues. If your toddler starts using sexually explicit language, or starts describing different body parts and what you can do with them in a sexual manner, these are red flags. Also, listen to her chatter. If she starts saying things like “bad man” or “stranger” or any other things that are out of the ordinary, pay attention.
- If she starts acting in a sexualized manner towards you or other children, she may have experience abuse. If she starts wanting to French kiss you, or rubs herself on you in an inappropriate manner, be warned. Another indication is if your daughter starts acting in a very provocative manner.
- If you have concerns, don’t downplay them. Listen to your parental instincts and get your child to the pediatrician right away. Have an examination performed. If it is determined your toddler was sexually abused, you will need to notify the authorities.
If your child is a victim of abuse, it is heartbreaking. Once a child is sexualized, there is no turning back and you will need to deal with the situation and get your child help as soon as possible. Never let your child continue to be exposed to the predator. Get help right away.