GBI training to spot child abuse, warn against parenting mistake - CBS46 News

GBI training to spot child abuse, warn against parenting mistakes

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Time and time again, GBI autopsy labs are processing the bodies of child victims. Their mothers and fathers aren't necessarily bad parents- some just made simple mistakes.

Tuesday, about 300 law enforcement officers and DFCS workers from across the state listened to tips they can pass on to families they come across through the course of their work.

"We want to explain to the public about unsafe sleeping and unattended firearms," said GBI Director, Vernon Keenan.

Last year, Douglas County had four babies die because of what was in their cribs.

"The foam mattresses, the stuffed animals, multiple pillows- these are all things that a child that is too young to maneuver itself could get its face easily trapped up against. And, it doesn't take much to suffocate a child," said Douglas County deputy coroner, Mark Alcarez.

He said your best bet is not to put anything in the crib except the baby.

When it comes to loaded guns, some parents may not think they have to worry because there's no way their small child would be strong enough to pull the trigger. The GBI Director says guess again.

"Last year we had nine children die because they obtained an unsecured firearm. Many of those are toddlers," said Keenan.

The GBI is also developing techniques to better spot deaths from child abuse.

One of the tools that's really helping investigators figure out how children died is a simple doll, weighted to be as realistic as possible. It's not a doll for a child to play with. It's actually something that will help police figure out if someone is lying.

GBI agent, Bryan Smith, explained how asking a parent to recreate what happened with the doll can be as good as a lie detector test.

"Having the doll present for the individual who says the baby fell this way or that way, may be completely inconsistent with the injuries on the child."

The difference between saying how something happened, and re-enacting it, may be all police need to open or close a criminal case.

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