April is Child Abuse Prevention Month! During this month and throughout the year, everyone has a role in preventing child abuse and neglect. In Kentucky, every adult is a mandated reporter of child abuse and neglect. Oral health professionals are in a unique position to recognize and report signs of abuse and neglect during their dental exams and procedures as it is estimated over 50% of injuries from child abuse occur on the head and neck. Knowing and recognizing the signs is the first step in helping keep kids safe.

Although dental offices may be temporarily closed, or limiting the number of patients being seen, the oral health community can still take steps to participate in Child Abuse Prevention Month and provide support for children and families in their communities. Consider the action steps below and stay engaged with the Face It Movement to learn more.

Action steps for oral health professionals

  • Offer words of encouragement or a helping hand to a parent
  • Watch these two new educational¬†videos for oral health professionals to learn how to keep kids safe in your community.¬†Remember, all Kentuckians are mandated reporters of suspected child abuse and neglect.
  • Share these videos with your staff, networks, and on social media.
  • Visit the¬†Face It website to learn more about child abuse prevention and how to get involved in the movement.
  • Order materials to display in your office or to distribute to your patients.

Child abuse prevention is something we are all a part of and extends beyond just the national initiative in April. Remember to keep these tips in mind as you work with children and families and encourage those around you to do the same!