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J Emerg Med. 2009 Feb;36(2):207-14. doi: 10.1016/j.jemermed.2007.07.025. Epub 2008 Apr 9.

Association of injury visits in children and child maltreatment reports.

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Department of Pediatrics, Division of Emergency Medicine/Child Protection and Forensic Medicine, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri, USA.


Injuries are a leading cause of childhood morbidity and are also common manifestations of child maltreatment, especially among young children. In an effort to determine whether injury-related Emergency Department (ED) visits among children aged 0 to 4 years were associated with child maltreatment reports, we identified all children with at least one injury-related ED visit in Missouri during 2000. Data on these injured children were linked to Missouri Child Protective Services (CPS) child abuse and neglect reports for 2000 and 2001. There were 50,068 children with at least one injury-related ED visit. Using children with one injury-related ED visit as the reference category, we calculated the relative risk of having a CPS report (or a substantiated report) for children with two, three, and four or more ED visits before a CPS report (or substantiated report). Compared to children with one visit, children with two visits were more likely to have a CPS report (relative risk [RR] 1.9; 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.8-2.0) and a substantiated report (RR 2.5; 95% CI 2.1-2.9). For children with four or more visits, the relative risk of a report and substantiated report was 3.8 (95% CI 3.0-4.7) and 4.7 (95% CI 2.4-9.2), respectively. Children with two or more injury-related ED visits in 1 year are more likely to be reported for child maltreatment and to have a substantiated report.

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