Wednesday, April 5, 2017

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. – April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month and Summit Health is urging parents to “Read, Play, Sing” with their children every day as methods to bond, nurture development and help prevent child abuse.

“This month and throughout the year, Summit Health encourages community members and organizations to do their part to make the local area a safer, better place for children,” said Dr. Stephen Flack,lead physician of Summit Primary Care, Summit Health Center Building 2 – Suite 203, and associate medical director of family care.

Dr. Flack recently spearheaded efforts for his practice to become an approved site for the National Reach Out and Read Program. The program gives pediatric patients and their parents the opportunity to select an age-appropriate book to take home with them after each wellness visit.

“By ensuring parents are equipped with the knowledge, skills and resources they need to care for their children, we can help prevent child abuse and neglect,” explained Dr. Flack.

He added that nurturing little ones through reading, playing and singing can help create meaningful bonds between parents and children.

“Life is busy and it often seems there’s a never-ending list of tasks for families to get through. This worsens stress, which has an adverse effect on relationships with others, including our children,” he said. “Taking time for things that are as simple as reading, playing and singing with our children actually helps alleviate our stress, bond with them and improve their cognitive development.”

Research shows that protective factors are present in healthy families. In addition to incorporating reading, playing and singing into each day with children, promoting these protective factors is among the most effective ways to reduce the risk of child abuse and neglect. They are:

  • Nurturing and attachment
  • Knowledge of parenting and of child and youth development
  • Parental resilience
  • Social connections
  • Concrete supports for parents
  • Social and emotional competence of children

“Communities – not just parents – play crucial roles in helping to nurture children and prevent child abuse,” said Dr. Flack. “And, as we strengthen our children and families, we strengthen communities.”

For more information on child abuse prevention and resources, click here.

Summit Health is a non-profit network of hospitals and physician practices dedicated to building a healthier community.

As Franklin County's leading healthcare provider, Summit Health offers family care, specialists, lab and imaging services, a fitness center, two walk-in care centers, and two award-winning hospitals.