Dr. Charles F. Johnson's letter to Wyoming Governor Geringer, March 18, 2002

The subcommittee on child abuse of the Ohio Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics has promulgated a definition of what injury constitutes child abuse. This definition recognizes that a majority of American's support and utilize corporal punishment.

The definition indicates that children who are less than 18 months of age, or handicapped should not received corporal punishment. It recognizes a bruise that results from intentional trauma as significant tissue injury that requires reporting as suspect abuse.

Though not condoning corporal punishment, it limits the anatomic areas of the body that "can be" struck by the hand to the hand and buttocks. Striking any other part of the body should be reported as suspect abuse. The use of an instrument on any part of the body is considered reportable as suspect abuse.

This purpose of this definition is to provide guidelines about suspect abuse that are medically based and not based on religion or personal experience. The guidelines are intended to protect children from serious trauma. A bruise is considered a serious form of trauma.

It is important that you veto this bill. It is dangerous to allow a bruise to be accepted as an insignificant injury, especially with no limitations relative to the medical, developmental and psychological status of the child

Charles F. johnson MD
Professor of Pediatrics @ The Ohio State University
Director Child Abuse Program @ Children's Hospital
700 Children's Drive; Columbus, Ohio USA 43205
614 722 3279 phone; 614 722 4966 fax

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