Expert says potty training a common cause of child abuse

AUSTIN (KXAN) --  A man is behind bars after police say he hit his child causing her critical injuries after the 20-month-old girl had an accident on the living room floor.  Experts with Center for Child Protection said issues with teaching children how to use the bathroom is one of the largest causes for child abuse.

"I think it's horrifying for the child not only today, but for their future," said Amanda Van Hoozer, Director of Program Services with the Center for Child Protection.  "What's going to happen to this kid? How is this kiddo going to be effected by what has happened?"

U.S. Marshals took 27-year-old Bryant Keith Davis into custody Tuesday after his 20-month-old girl needed to be revived following cardiac arrest related to severe bodily injury.

On July 9 around 3:15 p.m. Austin-Travis County EMS was called to an apartment at 8907 Tronewood Drive for a child having a seizure. EMS transported the child to Dell Children's Medical Center, where she went into cardiac arrest.

The child was found in a severe state - with 16 rib fractures, liver and spleen lacerations, a possible collapsed lung, facial bruising and a brain bleed, according to an official Austin Police Department warrant.

Van Hoozer said she's not only concerned for Davis' little girl, but other children going through similar situations.

"Thing that tends to go through my mind are the kids who things like this happen to everyday that maybe don't make the news, that maybe other people don't' know about or maybe it's not quite as severe, it's bad but it's not to the level of hospitalization and those kids have some of the same difficult outcomes," said Van Hoozer.

Court records state Davis told investigators he took his daughter to the bathroom and forcefully sat her down on the toilet, causing her to hit her head on the lid.

"I think parents, depending on how they've been parented and what they're skill sets are, have this thought that a child is having an accident to spite them or make them angry because they can control it, and the truth is they can't," said Van Hoozer.  "There's a huge window of time when a child can be potty trained and it's anywhere from sometime around two-years-old to sometimes around 4 years."

Van Hoozer said every child is different and parents need to be patient and suggested taking a moment for themselves if they get frustrated.

"Put your child in a place that's safe, and take a break," suggested Van Hoozer.  "Sit outside, go drink a cup of coffee, do whatever causes you to relax and to just calm down and step away from that situation because we lose control over things that we have no control over. We're setting our kids up to be injured and  I think many times that's not initially what a parent plans to do but they become so angry and so enraged that tragic things happen."

The Center for Child Protection said people can report abuse to  1-800-252-5400 or report online.

Child Protective Services told KXAN it was their first time encountering Bryant Davis.  They are now investigating the situation and have removed a three-year-old who was also at the home into protective custody.

CPS said they're considering filing a order with a Family Court judge to permanently remove both children from where they live now.


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