PARENTS of clumsy children are risking neglect charges if they show up too many times at a hospital emergency ward.
A new report from the Federal Government’s Australian Institute of Family Studies advises child protection workers to classify children who repeatedly hurt themselves as “high risk of neglect” even if the injuries are minor. Accident-prone children might be the victims of poor parental supervision, it says.
“In an assessment of child maltreatment, child protection practitioners should consider children with multiple accidental injuries to be at high risk of neglect, particularly supervisory neglect, and not be too quick to classify a child as `accident prone’ without carefully considering the role of supervision in those injuries,” the report states.
“Children who suffer a number of injuries, albeit minor in terms of severity, may serve as a warning that there are other issues of a potentially neglectful nature.”
Child psychologist Michael Carr-Gregg yesterday warned such a crackdown would promote over-protective “helicopter parenting”.
“This may act as a disincentive for parents whose kids have legitimately hurt themselves to present to the emergency ward,”Dr Carr-Gregg said.
“Kids aren’t made of glass … if you took this seriously you’d never put a child on a bike because they might go on the road and get killed by a semi-trailer.”