So, I have a 1 year old son. My male cousin and his wife had their first son about 2 months before my son was born. I admire this cousin a great deal. He came from a really challenging background....no father, poor, etc. Over the years, he has really made something of himself. Pulled himself up, put himself through school, started his own business. Became a marthon runner. He and his wife are very outdoorsy. Hike every week. Bit into extreme sports.
Here's my concern: They both parent with a mentality that their son should learn the hard way. So, they let him walk and climb and roam with a very far reach. If he wants to climb on the coffee table, they let him him scream in frustration and persist without helping him (even though he's looking to them for help) until he gets up on his own. I think that part is great. Teaches him to work hard to attain what he wants.
However, I think they are extremely careless and do not protect him enough. Nearly every single picture of him that they post to Facebook, he's got a new big old bruise on his head (we're talking from the time he began crawling...5 months or so)...a split lip, a cut on his face. He's a year old. Last week, they posted that they were pissed because baby (1 year, 2 months) had burned his hand on halogan floor flood lights at a local amphitheater and complained to the venue for having so carelessly put hot lights in the ground. Threatened a law suit. When, in my opinion, if they had been properly supervising him, he would not have gotten hurt. They posted a picture of his burned palm. We're talking pretty bad burns with raw and peeling skin. Then, today, my cousin posts that he is at the children's emergency and his 1 year 2 month old son needs stitches. He doesn't explain. Now, I know FOR A FACT that my cousin is not physically abusing his child by his hand. But I feel that his philosophy and his failure to protect him is causing this child pain. And I'm so frustrated because I know other people see this as we do, but the only replies he gets to his facebook posts are..."Stitches? You're not raising this kid a softie are you?" or "Put mud in it and pack it." Am I being overreactive? I mean, at 1 year 2 months old, shouldn't you be protecting your child from harm? He doesn't have the reasoning skills to know safety from danger. Isn't that up to us? I feel so badly for this child. He's constantly enduring something painful. How does everyone else feel about this? How would you react? I feel like I should say something but I almost feel like he already knows this is not right and gets a kick out of the fact that noone calls him out? I also feel like if I say something, he may totally cut ties with us for questioning his parenting.
Your title of this post is Child Protection, which automatically makes me think of Child Protection Services. I agree that the 1 yr old should possibly be better supervised (as we don't truly know how the injuries are happening this is just an educated guess on your part) However, this might be a time to call CPS. You can start by explaining your concerns (without identifying your cousin) and ask them if they feel that is a reportable situation. You can ask them what they would do if you do make this an official report.
If you decide to identify your cousin, you can report it annonymously - and even if you don't, CPS is not supposed to reviel the name of their souce if they should decide to take action. CPS is all about keeping children safe. In this particular case, if they feel they have enough concerns (they have a set of criteria that needs to be met before they can investigate) they would probably visit the home, make sure it has basic child proofing, and talk to the parents about the level of supervision a 1 yr old needs and how to prevent basic injuries. They then might do a follow-up visit or two (or maybe a few months worth of visits) to make sure your cousin is making the neccessary changes to ensure their child's safety.
CPS does not make the decision take children out of the home unless they feel the child is in danger - from your description it doesn't sound like the 1 yr old is in that sort of danger, so most likely CPS will be there to teach and support your cousin - not take away their kid.
Good luck, I think getting a professional opinion on this is the route to go. After you know what CPS think about the situation it might help you decide what to do.
State Certified Early Childhood Special Education Teacher
New Mom as of March 2009!