Infants under 12 months most at risk of physical abuse

Research co-authored by a Professor from our University has found infants under the age of 12 months are most at risk of serious physical abuse. The large study of severely injured children is published online in Emergency Medicine Journal.

The severity of their injuries means that they are three times more likely to die than children who have sustained other types of trauma, the findings show.

The researchers base their findings on returns submitted to the Trauma Audit Research Network (TARN) between 2004 and 2013. TARN is a database which collects information on patients treated for injuries that are sufficiently severe to warrant hospital treatment for at least three days. Virtually all (96%) acute care hospitals in England and Wales contribute to TARN.

Professor Tim Coats, Professor of Emergency Medicine in the University’s Department of Cardiovascular Sciences, said: “The key message from this paper is that the high profile child abuse cases such as Victoria Climbie and Baby P are not typical - as they are older than average. This new data shows that non-accidental injury is much more common in younger babies, in the first few months of life. This is important for all professionals involved with families and new babies."

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