And national and local statistics show that typically about a fifth of all abuse victims are 2 and under. Infants in fact are at higher risk of being abused than any other age group, experts say, in part because they are more fragile but also because parents and other caregivers may not be emotionally equipped to handle the uniquely piercing screams of an unhappy baby. Crying is so hard for parents to take, both because of the noise as well as the frustration, rage and feelings of inadequacy that go with not being able to stop it, Donnelly says. New parents, even when primed for sleepless nights and round-the-clock diapering, often are amazed at this phenomenon: As much as they love this small bundle of life, to their horror they may find themselves so frustrated and angry with a crying infant they may have an impulse to lash out. To find local chapters, call Social service agencies are trying to get the word out that there are, in fact, places where overwhelmed parents and others can go to learn coping skills. If you are in need of serious help, call a professional therapist, local social services or mental health agency, or the National Child Abuse Hot Line, In recent months, the public has learned of several tragic incidents of infants being severely harmed, some by baby-sitters, some by parents. The goal is to prevent child abuse.
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