Section 1, Article 5 - With increased mobility and exploration preschoolers are at an increased risk of injury. Immaturity in the prefrontal cortex predisposes children to poor impulse control adding to the likelihood of accidental harm. Children in the United States are twice as likely to die as a result from injury as they are from an illness (; ). The most severe health risk for children under that age of 6 is lead poisoning with 14 million children a year suffering from lead exposure (; ; ). The number one cause of death for young children in the United States is motor vehicle accidents. While minor injuries are unavoidable more serious accidents can be avoided with the aid of primary, secondary, and tertiary preventative measures.
Primary levels of injury prevention focus on reducing injury with proactive measures and include the use of speedbumps, signs, reflective surfaces, and sidewalks. Secondary levels of prevention focuses on high risk situations and vulnerable individuals that may need added protection such as children on mass transit and dangerous weather conditions. Tertiary levels of injury prevention start after an injury has occurred and include measures like timely ambulances, rehabilitation services, and traffic laws.
Opposed to accidental injury, child maltreatment is the deliberate harm or preventable endangerment to someone under the age of 18. Developmental psychologist prefer the term child maltreatment opposed to child abuse due to the more inclusive nature of the term to comprise a variety of conditions. Physical abuse, sexual abuse, child neglect, emotional abuse, verbal abuse, psychological abuse, and mental injury are all types of child maltreatment. Sadly, nearly 3 million children in the United States experience maltreatment every year. is the most common form of maltreatment in the United States ().
Children who endure maltreatment often display anxious behavior and they may be resistant to control and show developmental delays. Maltreatment can also have long lasting effects, with many abused children growing into adults who suffer from depression and ongoing cycles of violence (). Spanking is a controversial topic related to child maltreatment as it is easy for spanking that is begun in anger to turn into physical abuse. In light of this and the potential long-term negative effects of physical abuse the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that physical punishment be avoided when reprimanding children ().