SAD: Cook Children’s Hospital in North Texas Reports Spike in Severe Child Abuse Cases; Believe Linked to Stress From Coronavirus Pandemic and Parents Being Forced to Stay Home with Their Children Due to School Closures

Doctors at Cook Children’s Hospital say they believe the stresses from the coronavirus pandemic are linked to six cases of severe child abuse seen at the hospital just this week.

Cook Children’s says it typically sees that many such cases over the course of a month.

All of the children admitted this week were under 4 years old.

“We knew an increase in abuse was going to occur, but this happened faster than we ever imagined,” said Christi Thornhill, director of the Trauma Program, the CARE team and Fostering Health at Cook Children’s. “I mean this happened in a week and these are really bad abuse cases.”

Jamye Coffman, M.D., medical director of the Cook Children’s Center for Prevention and Child Abuse and Neglect and the CARE team, believes these unprecedented times have simply become too much for some parents.

“People have so much increased stress right now,” Dr. Coffman said. “They’ve got financial stress. Some people lost their job or are worried about keeping their current job. They lost their income. You’ve got stress from being overcrowded. Everyone’s cooped up together. They feel like they can’t get away from each other. These stressors can lead to abuse.”

Dr. Coffman said another factor is that people can’t get away from COVID-19 news as it is on TV and social media constantly.

It’s more difficult to take children to a grandparent or neighbor’s house right now and kids aren’t going to school to give their parents some away time.

In a news release Friday, Cook Children’s talked about what families can do now:

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