FORT GEORGE G. MEADE, Md. (April 12, 2012) -- Recognizing the symptoms of child abuse can help prevent lasting effects.

This message from Capt. Debra Stone, chief of Kimbrough Ambulatory Care Center's Social Work Service, is one of many being shared as part of National Child Abuse Prevention Month.

During fiscal year 2010, authorities investigated 436,321 substantiated allegations of child abuse nationwide, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services "Child Maltreatment" 2010 report.

Maltreatment includes physical and sexual abuse as well as neglect.

Signs of physical abuse include: unexplained injuries, fading bruises or other noticeable marks following an absence from school or other regular activities, and fear of a parent or caregiver and of having to return to their care.

Signs of neglect include: poor hygiene, inappropriate clothing for the weather, lack of food for a meal, and alcohol and drug abuse particularly before age 14.

Symptoms of sexual abuse include: sudden refusal to change clothing in front of others, sexual knowledge or behavior that is not age appropriate, and aggressive or regressive behavior such as temper tantrums, crying spells and bed-wetting.

The above potential indicators of abuse are not all-encompassing.

Stone recommends parents respect their child's privacy if they suspect abuse. They should not discuss the situation with other adults in front of the child because the youngster may feel he or she did something wrong.

Parents should not pressure the child, said Stone. Children will often keep embarrassing topics to themselves because they may feel responsible.

Instead, Stone recommends parents contact one of several resources such as Kimbrough's Pediatric Primary Care at 301-677-8800, Social Work Service or Behavioral Health Department at 301-677-8895.

Other resources include the Directorate of Emergency Services at 301-677-6622 and Victim Advocacy Services or Army Community Service at 301-677-5590.