Pediatrician warns parents of expected increase in child abuse surrounding Super Bowl

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - A local pediatrician is warning parents of an expected increase in child abuse surrounding the Super Bowl.

Dr. Jim Anderst is a child abuse pediatrician at Children's Mercy Hospital and says child abuse consultations go up about 30 percent during the week before, the week of, and the week after the Super Bowl.

"The Super Bowl is an opportunity for a lot of people to party and drink and do those sorts of things, and a lot of people wager on the Super Bowl," Dr. Anderst said. "So if you combine a person who maybe drank too much, is stressed to begin with and lost a lot of money you can see how bad things have an opportunity to happen."

During the three weeks surrounding the game, Children's Mercy had 14 child abuse consultations in 2010, 13 in 2011, 15 in 2012 and 20 in 2013.

"It's part of our life. We try and do things like this to get the word out to let people know," Dr. Anderst said. "These things happen all the time. It's just they happen more at some times than others, and next week is typically a bad time, and we know it's coming, and we'll just have to deal with the fall out."

Dr. Anderst said younger kids are more at risk.

"The kinds that we see now more than others are physical abuse, children being beaten very severely and violently," Anderst said. "Sexual abuse tends to peak at different times of the year - spring break, summer - those sorts of things. But this particular time of year, it's the physically abused kids, the young ones, the kids under three that we see more of."

He hopes parents plan ahead to keep kids out of harms way.

"I think if you're a person who's going to go to a Super Bowl party and you're wagering on the game think about how you're going to react if you lose. Think about how you're going to react if you drank too much, and sort of plan ahead," Dr. Anderst said. "I you're a person who's accompanying an adult who's doing that, think about how you're going to protect your child."

To report suspected child abuse call 1-800-422-4453.

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