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An Pediatr (Barc). 2009 Jul;71(1):60-3. doi: 10.1016/j.anpedi.2008.12.002. Epub 2009 May 7.

[Suspected child abuse in paediatric emergency service].

[Article in Spanish]

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Servicio de Urgencias de Pediatría y Unidad de Atención al Cliente y Trabajo Social, Hospital Universitario Vall d'Hebron, Barcelona, España.



To describe the epidemiology of child abuse in an emergency department of a tertiary paediatric hospital.


Descriptive and retrospective study from January 2008 to January 2006 including patients less than sixteen years of age who were suspected of being abused during the examination in the emergency department.


Child maltreatment was 0.07% of all paediatric emergencies (45% physical abuse, 35% sexual abuse and 20% neglect). Mean age of 6 years old, with no gender differences. 86% were suspected of maltreatment. An adult living with the child was suspected in 67% of cases. Social and judicial procedures were activated. A total of 24 children were admitted, 14 under medical criteria and the rest in order to protect the child; 2 had serious neurological consequences and one died. Eight patients were discharged to social service care centres.


We believe it is necessary to improve the pediatrician's knowledge of child abuse and to create specialized units.

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