A person commits child abuse if such person causes an injury to a child’s life or health, or permits a child to be unreasonably placed in a situation that poses a threat of injury to the child’s life or health, or engages in a continued pattern of conduct that results in malnourishment, lack of proper medical care, cruel punishment, mistreatment, or an accumulation of injuries that ultimately results in the death of a child or serious bodily injury to a child.
Remember, your child may be charged with the offense of child abuse for harming another child, even if the harmed child is older that your accused child. If your child is involved in an assault of another child, they may also be charged with child abuse.
You don’t even have to harm a child to be charged with child abuse. Simply placing a child in a situation that poses a threat of injury (ie, failure to use a seat belt) is considered child abuse under the law.
Depending on the extent of injury to the child victim, the offense of child abuse may be a misdemeanor or felony.
If the child was 72 hours old or younger at the time of the alleged offense, it is an affirmative defense to the charge of child abuse that the parent safely, reasonably, and knowingly handed the child over to a firefighter, or to a hospital staff member, when the firefighter is at a fire station or the hospital staff member is at a hospital.