Child abuse occurs more often during potty training

TULSA - According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, child abuse occurs during potty training more than any other time in a child's life.

At the Child Abuse Network in Tulsa, they see 35 to 45 children per week, most have suffered some type of abuse.

Experts say it's important to spot the signs and report it before it's too late.

"My grandson was killed, he wasn't just abused. He was murdered," said Michelle Halley.

In 2005, Halley's grandson, two year-old Keenan Taylor died at the hands of his father. Carlis Ball poured boiling water over Keenan's body and didn't get medical help until 24 hours later.

"He was two years old when he was murdered and five days later he would have turned three years old, we had his birthday party at the grave," said Halley.

Child specialists at the Child Abuse Network deal with cases of abuse everyday.

"Abuse happens in every income level and every age, every town, every ethnicity, it happens to anybody," said Michelle Gantz, a child specialist.

Experts say transition periods in a child's life, like potty training or starting school, can be challenging for both children and parents.

"A lot of times parents are unaware and have unrealistic expectations of a child at different developmental ages," said Gantz.

They recommend parents learn to manage stress, and have some help in place to get time to cool off.

"Like a little buddy system, you know, if I come over and tell you, I really need 15 minutes, and I bring my kids over, it's because I need to go do some stress relief," said Gantz.

They want to make sure anyone who suspects child abuse to report it.

"In Oklahoma, we're all mandated by law to report if we suspect or have a suspicion," said Gantz.

It could not only prevent a cycle of abuse, it could also save a life.

"I believe if you know something and you know that a child is being abused, you need to tell. It isn't such thing as you snitching to save a child's life... life still has to go on, but it's sad it has to go on without him," said Halley.

If you suspect child abuse you can call Child Abuse Network hotline at (918) 584-1222

According to the Department of Human Services, in 2010, abuse most often occurred in children under the age of five.

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