Early Childhood Trauma

Overview

Early childhood trauma generally refers to the traumatic experiences that occur to children aged 0-6. Because infants' and young children's reactions may be different from older children's, and because they may not be able to verbalize their reactions to threatening or dangerous events, many people assume that young age protects children from the impact of traumatic experiences. When young children experience or witness a traumatic event, sometimes adults say, "They're too young to understand, so it's probably better if we don't talk to them about it." However, young children are affected by traumatic events, even though they may not understand what happened.

Sometimes adults say, 'They're too young to understand.'

        However, young children are affected by traumatic events,

         even though they may not understand what  happened.

A growing body of research has established that young children-even infants—may be affected by events that threaten their safety or the safety of their parents/caregivers, and their symptoms have been well documented. These traumas can be the result of intentional violence—such as child physical or sexual abuse, or domestic violence—or the result of natural disaster, accidents, or war. Young children also may experience traumatic stress in response to painful medical procedures or the sudden loss of a parent/caregiver.

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