injured_catDavid Wallis compiles an impressive list of U.P.A.’s — unintentional parent abuse:

When Carter Roberts was 2, he gripped a Matchbox car and, mimicking the Kung Fu Panda, whacked his mother, Sarah Rosengarten, across the face. Ms. Rosengarten, 27, wound up at the local emergency room, where doctors diagnosed a hairline fracture of the jaw.

“Children,” she said wearily, “can be dangerous.”


Parents and pediatricians know all about U.P.A.:

According to emergency room physicians, pediatricians and other experts, U.P.A. is no laughing matter. With unpredictable infants and toddlers, meals, bath time or even cuddles can go terribly wrong. Though statistics for injuries caused by young children are difficult to find, parents routinely suffer concussions, chipped teeth, corneal abrasions, nasal fractures, cut lips and torn earlobes, among other injuries.

“You’re dealing with wonderful human beings who can’t be reasoned with, who are impulsive, who are stronger and faster than you think they are, and don’t understand consequences of their actions,” said Dr. Benjamin Hoffman, medical director of the Tom Sargent Children’s Safety Center at Doernbecher Children’s Hospital in Portland, Ore.


Wallis considers how parents should respond when accidentally whacked:

Sucker-punched parents can be at a loss as to how to react — agony has a way of temporarily overriding nurturing instincts. The child’s age and how an injury occurred can dictate whether parents should show or try to suppress pain.


I think it’s safe to say that the degree of parental reaction is directly proportional to the level of pain inflicted.  Conscious consideration rarely comes into play.


(Image: Grant Cochrane/