CTV News–More babies are being brought into hospitals with serious head trauma and fractures in recent months, according to figures compiled by the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO), an alarming trend that doctors believe is associated with the challenges parents and caregivers face without additional support under lockdown.
Since September, the hospital says it has seen more than twice as many babies arriving with serious injuries, confirming fears that the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is taking a heavy toll on the most vulnerable members of society and the families who care for them.
“I’ve actually seen a doubling of the number of kids as compared to the year before … Babies under one coming with types of injuries that, really, they can’t cause themselves,” said Dr. Michelle Ward, a pediatrician and head of the division for Child and Youth Protection at CHEO.
The figures prompted CHEO, the Children’s Aid Society of Ottawa, and Ottawa Public Health to work together to raise awareness on this issue and remind caregivers to be gentle. Part of the group’s messaging is to let struggling parents and caregivers know that it is normal to feel overwhelmed, and that asking for support is an extremely important part of good parenting.
“The reason and purpose for this media release was to … increase awareness for the children, youth and families that they aren’t alone, that there is support, and that if they are struggling, experiencing distress, to reach out and call for help. There’s no shame or embarrassment to reaching out,” said Kelly Raymond, the executive director for the Children’s Aid Society of Ottawa.