Caregivers who have poor parenting skills, little or no parenting support, or unrealistic expectations of normal behavior for infants or young children may be more likely to harm a child. They often do not know what behaviors are normal for babies or young children and have unrealistic expectations, such as expecting a 9-month-old to sit quietly for a long period of time or expecting a baby not to cry.
Babies or young children who are difficult to care for, such as those who have colic, demanding temperaments, or physical disabilities, may trigger a loss of control in a frustrated caregiver. A common cause of loss of control is a crying infant who does not respond to usual measures of comforting.
Caregivers who may be more likely to shake or throw a baby or young child include people who:
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