In regards to child abuse and maltreatment of a minor child, what would be some cultural variations of health practices that can be misidentified as child abuse?

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estoverl | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Assistant Educator

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There is educational literature that investigates many cultural practices that to outsiders, may be interpreted as abusive. 

One such practice from Southeast Asia is that of Cao Gio or coin rubbing. This practice involves rubbing a coin systematically across oiled skin until very visible abrasions appear under the skin. Like many Asian practices, the purpose is to restore balance to the body. 

A Hispanic remedy for children that cannot fall asleep is to place petroleum jelly on the eye areas as a way to promote sleep. This leaves the eyes irritated and red which might be misidentified as abuse. 

East Asian and Eastern European cultures practice a technique called cupping to draw toxins from the body. This method involves inverting a heated cup on the body that results in suction. It leaves pronounced, red, raised circular marks that might be misidentified as abuse. 

Some low income African Americans use lye or strong detergent to treat rashes which may make the skin appear more irritated. For nausea, sometimes a homemade "brew" called persnickety made from tobacco is added to milk and given to children. 

Some Hispanic cultures practice Santeria which combines African spirit worship and the Catholic religion. Some methods to treat ill children include animal sacrifice and the wearing of certain beads and potions. To an outsider, a child speaking of these practices could be misidentified as being abused. 

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