What parents can do to protect their kids

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January 25, 2013, 10:15 pm
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(NECN: Alysha Palumbo, Boston) - Just this week, we've heard the story of Rehma Sabir - the Cambridge girl prosecutors say was assaulted by her nanny on her first birthday, dying two days later.

Then Thursday night, 9-month-old Ariel Eluziario of New Bedford came to the hospital with a blood clot on her brain and hemorrhaging behind her eyes - after police say her mother's boyfriend admitted to throwing, shaking and dropping the infant on her head when she became fussy.

It's frightening for any parent to hear stories of young children injured, abused or even dying, allegedly at the hands of their caregiver.

But child advocates say there are several things parents can do to ease their concerns and make sure their children are protected.
"Really what somebody should be looking for in a caregiver, whether it's a family member or a professional setting, is do they have a good understanding of how kids are?" said Sarita Rogers, assistant director of programs at the Children's Trust Fund in Boston.
She says parents need to talk with the caregiver about their child's specific needs.
Rogers said, "Do they understand that infants have different sorts of moods, they cry and they cry for much more amounts of time than you think that they may cry, do they understand safe sleeping habits?"
She says if red flags pop up it can be uncomfortable to talk with your caregiver about it, especially if they're a friend or relative, but you need to have the conversation before it potentially becomes a more serious issue.
"A parent really should just be very up front, be a neutral as possible, not accusatory but be up front and say, 'I'm observing this, explain this to me' or 'this doesn't fit the guidelines we discussed,'" Rogers said.
She says if your child's mood or behavior changes, or if something just seems off, you need to take action.
"You shouldn't be afraid to question, I mean it's your child," Rogers said.

It's important to note, Sarita Rogers is not involved in either of these cases.

If you would like more information on resources for parents when researching your own childcare options or working with your child's caregiver, you can visit the Children's Trust Fund website

Tags: Boston, Alysha Palumbo, parents, caregivers, Rehma Sabir, Ariel Eluziario, child advocates, Childrens Trust Fund, Sarita Rogers
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