• April is Child Abuse Prevention Month

    April is a month that makes a lot of us feel excited for spring and summer! The temperature gets warmer, the sun shines brighter and the flowers are blooming all over the place. But did you know that April is also National Child Abuse Prevention Month? According to childrensdefense.org, 1,825 children in the United States were confirmed to be abused or neglected each day in 2014.

    In Oklahoma, we are all mandated reporters— which means, if you see something that you think might be child abuse or neglect, according to the law, you must report it or else you could face a misdemeanor offense. A person who reports suspected abuse in “good faith” is immune from criminal or civil liability.

    So what exactly is child abuse or neglect? How do you know if what you see is truly abuse or a style of parenting? Here are some definitions by childwelfare.gov on what exactly abuse and neglect are.

    Physical abuse: Non-accidental physical injury (ranging from minor bruises to severe fractures or death) as a result of punching, beating, kicking, biting, shaking, throwing, stabbing, choking, hitting (with a hand, stick, strap, or other object), burning, or otherwise harming a child, that is inflicted by a parent, caregiver, or other person who has responsibility for the child. Physical discipline, such as spanking or paddling, is not considered abuse as long as it is reasonable and causes no bodily injury to the child.

    Neglect: The failure of a parent, guardian, or other caregiver to provide for a child’s basic needs. Neglect can be:
    -Physical (example: failure to provide necessary food of shelter, or lack of appropriate supervision)
    -Medical (example: failure to provide necessary medical or mental health treatment)
    -Emotional (example: inattention to a child’s emotional needs, failure to provide psychological care, or permitting the child to use alcohol or other drugs)

    Sexual abuse: Includes activities by a parent or caregiver such as fondling a child’s genitals, penetration, incest, rape, sodomy, indecent exposure, and exploitation through prostitution or the production of pornographic materials.

    Emotional abuse: A pattern of behavior that impairs a child’s emotional development or sense of self-worth. This may include constant criticism, threats, or rejection, as well as withholding love, support, or guidance.

    *Other forms of abuse may include abandonment or substance abuse.

    For a full list on how to identify if a child is potentially being abused or neglected, check out https://www.childwelfare.gov/pubpdfs/whatiscan.pdf.

    So with all of that being said, there are some ways you and your family can get involved in helping bring awareness to National Child Abuse Prevention Month:

    -Spread the word through social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.). And don’t forget to use the hashtag #PreventionMonth!

    -Share Oklahoma’s Child Abuse Prevention video with your family, friends and coworkers! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ujZZOmZfPlU

    -Put up a blue ribbon on your tree, door, or anywhere else you can think of! The blue ribbon is the symbol for child abuse prevention to represent the blue color of a child’s bruise.

    -Encourage your child to color a picture of “My Happiest Day” and post it on social media. To print the Oklahoma’s coloring page, find it here: https://www.ok.gov/health2/documents/Coloring%20Template.pdf.

    -Encourage your child to color a pinwheel in honor of Child Abuse Prevention Month found here: https://www.ok.gov/health2/documents/PW1.pdf.

    Get involved and spread the word this month on preventing child abuse and neglect!

    If you suspect something, report it. Oklahoma’s Child Abuse Hotline is available 24 hours a day—call 1-800-522-3511. If the child is in immediate danger, call 911 or local law enforcement.

    For the babies,
    Sarah


  • It's National Nutrition Month!

    We all have heard how important good nutrition is during pregnancy, breastfeeding, and for your baby. In honor of March being National Nutrition Month, I wanted to share with you all some healthy tips for you and your baby!

    While you’re pregnant:

    I know you might feel nauseous for one moment and craving something the next, but eating healthy is so important for you and your baby while you’re pregnant. It is especially important for moms-to-be to get enough folic acid and calcium while pregnant. So taking your prenatal vitamins and talking to your doctor about how to get enough calcium in your diet is often recommended. According to choosemyplate.gov, here is what the United States Department of Agriculture recommends for pregnant or breastfeeding women:

    Vegetables: Carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, spinach, cooked greens (kale, collards, turnip greens, and beet greens), winter squash, tomatoes and tomato sauces, and red sweet peppers. *When choosing canned vegetables, look for “low-sodium” or “no-salt-added” on the label.

    Fruits: Cantaloupe, honeydew melon, mangoes, prunes, bananas, apricots, oranges, red or pink grapefruit, and 100% prune juice or orange juice. *When choosing canned fruit, look for those canned in 100% fruit juice or water instead of syrup.

    Dairy: Fat-free or low-fat yogurt, fat-free milk (skim milk), low-fat milk (1% milk), and calcium-fortified soy milk (soy beverage).

    Grains: Fortified ready-to-eat cereals and fortified cooked cereals. *When buying ready-to-eat and cooked cereals, choose those made from whole grains most often. Look for cereals that are fortified with iron and folic acid.

    Protein: Beans and peas (pinto beans, soybeans, white beans, lentils, kidney beans, and chickpeas), nuts and seeds (sunflower seeds, almonds, hazelnuts, pine nuts, peanuts, and peanut butter), lean beef, lamb, and pork, oysters, mussels, and crab, and salmon, trout, herring, sardines, and pollock.

    For your baby:
    You have most likely heard that breastfeeding is the most nutritious form of milk for your baby. But for some women, it’s not possible to breastfeed. In that case, formula is the way to go. For more specific questions on what formula to feed your baby, it is always recommended to talk to your baby’s doctor. According to eatright.org, here are some tips that the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommend.

    -Count the number of wet diapers to make sure your breast- or formula-fed baby is eating enough. (They recommend six or more every 24 hours. But if you’re unsure if your baby is getting enough to eat, make sure to ask your baby’s doctor.)

    -Offer breast milk or formula, not cow milk, to your baby up to 12 months of age.

    -Clean all baby-feeding equipment with hot, soapy water, and make sure to rinse well.

    -Avoid putting your baby to bed with a bottle.

    -Discard unused food after feeding.

    -Start with single foods (one new food at a time).

    -Always stay with your baby while he or she is eating.

    -According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), it’s recommended to wait until at least 6 months to start feeding your baby solid foods such as baby cereal or baby food.

    -The AAP also recommends that you do not give honey to a baby younger than 12 months.

    Nutrition information is often overwhelming! Don’t let it scare you. Remember these helpful, reliable websites for nutrition tips: healthychildren.org, choosemyplate.gov, and eatright.org. And as always, when you have a question about your baby’s health or nutrition, your doctor is the perfect person to talk to!

    What are some tips you have for moms-to-be or new moms concerning health and nutrition?

    For the babies,
    Sarah


  • Parenting Classes are coming to Infant Crisis Services

    Beginning in mid-August, we are offering two parenting classes: Nurturing Parenting and Circle of Parents

    We are proud to partner with the Community Learning Council, Quest Mental Health, and OU Health and Science Center Child Guidance Services.

    Why: This is a great opportunity for families to share caregiving ideas, discover new ways to deal with the challenges that come with parenting and participate in a support group.  We will also be providing free baby items each class, like diapers, toys, books, etc.

    When: Nurturing Parenting will be held on Mondays at 5pm and Circle of Parents will be on Thursdays at 1:30pm.

    Who: You! 

    Where: Infant Crisis Services (4224 N Lincoln Blvd, Oklahoma City, OK 73105)

    For more information or to register for classes, please call Family Services Coordinator Meg Standefer at 405-778-7606 or email at megstandefer@infantcrisis.org.


  • Kindred: Transforming we to they

    We are all a little more alike than we probably realize. Each day this month we will share stories to highlight our kindred spirits. You'll witness happiness at its truest, struggle at its most genuine and humanity in its purest form.

    Hopefully, you will shift they to we, and together we'll build a more empathetic, understanding community.

    Follow us on FacebookInstagram, Twitter to see the stories for yourself.

  • Wanted: Soft Fabric for Community Quilters


    There is nothing sweeter than seeing a baby in a handmade quilt. The baby’s eyes light up when they see all the colors and patterns. The added warmth and comfort of the new hand-made quilt seems to be uplifting to both the baby and the parent. For many years, the ladies at Oklahoma Quiltworks have lovingly created the most beautiful quilts for the babies and toddlers at Infant Crisis Services. The time, talent and dedication put into these quilts is nothing short of amazing.

     

    The Oklahoma Quiltworks is a group of seven extraordinary talented ladies, who volunteer to make quilts. Together, they have hand-stitched thousands of quilts for Infant Crisis Services. Each quilt is stitched with love and prayers for the baby or toddler who receives it. Our friends at the Oklahoma Quiltworks craft from donations of fabric and batting. Currently, our friends are struggling to get quality baby print fabric. If you or someone you know would like to donate soft fabric with baby or toddler patterns, please bring it to Infant Crisis Services.  We will happily deliver it to Oklahoma Quiltworks and their wonderful volunteers who will use it to create a special one-of-a-kind blanket for a baby or toddler in need.

    Click here to find out where you can drop off donations. 

    Beth Lykins

    Director of Volunteer Programs

    Infant Crisis Services, Inc.


  • More than Stranger Danger

    We all know how to talk with our children about stranger danger, but child abuse, especially sexual abuse, is a difficult topic to discuss for most adults. It's uncomfortable to think about your child or a child you care for being harmed or mistreated in any way. But, when it comes to our kids, we have to step up to the plate, be aware of the signs and act responsibly. The fact of the matter is, sexual abuse is a reality and it happens every day. It's likely you know a child who has been or is being abused. Do you know what to do about it? As a parent, here's what you need to know about sexual abuse:

    Step 1: Learn the facts

    • 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys will be sexually abused by the time they are 18.
    • 90% of them know and trust their abuser - it's not a stranger hiding in the bushes.
    • 40% of abusers are older or larger than children
    • Over 6,000 Oklahoma children were sexually abused in 2014

    Step 2: Minimize Opportunity

    Eliminate or reduce one adult to one child situations where your child is alone with another adult. You have the power and the right to protect your child.

    • Choose group situations carefully.
    • Make sure interactions can be observed and interrupted.
    • Demand best practices in schools and organizations that serve your children: background checks, in person interviews, reference checks, code of conduct, policies in place, prevention training for staff.

    Step 3: Talk about it

    One of the best protections against abuse is our relationship with our children. Encourage open conversations with your children regularly. Only 29% of parents talk with their children about personal safety. Ask your child to unplug from their computer or phone for a few minutes and talk about the tough issues.

    • Understand why children are afraid to tell.
    • Know how children communicate
    • Talk openly. If an incident does arise, you don't want any confusion about what happened when your child tells his or her story to the police.
    • Talk often. Have regular dialogue with your kids about lots of different topics so you're both comfortable talking when the subject of abuse is brought up.
    • Have touching rules. Your family has rules about not getting in a car with strangers or crossing the street safely. Include rules about right touch and wrong touch in your family rules. Explain to your child that private body parts (or bathing suit areas) are their own parts and no one is supposed to touch them there.
    • Make sure children know that it's OK to tell if someone touches them inappropriately.

    Step 4: Recognize the signs

    Physical signs of abuse are not as common as emotional and behavioral signs. Look for:

    • Withdrawal
    • Depression
    • Anger, rebellion, defiance
    • Fear of situations or people
    • Sexual behavior or language
    • Failing grades or rising grades
    • Use of alcohol or drugs
    • A change in behavior 

    Step 5: React Responsibly

    If your child tells you someone has touched them inappropriately,

    • Be calm.
    • Listen carefully.
    • Don't rush.
    • Ask open-ended questions.
    • Believe the child.
    • Tell them he/she has done nothing wrong.
    • Affirm the child's courage/
    • Seek professional help.

    Commit to having open and honest dialogue with your children. Get out of your comfort zone and talk to them about personal safety. Your relationship will grow as a result and your children will be safer.

    For information on how to talk with your children or to schedule our More than Stranger Danger workshop for your group, contact Family builders at 405.232.8226 or email egrunewald@familybuildersok.org.

     

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