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Aust Fam Physician. 2012 Oct;41(10):823-6.

Infant abusive head trauma - incidence, outcomes and awareness.

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Integrated Women's Health Unit, Cairns Base Hospital, Queensland, Australia.



Abusive head trauma of infants is a significant cause of morbidity and mortality. The incidence in Australia has been estimated at 29.6 cases of abusive head trauma for which hospital admission is required per 100 000 infants aged 0-24 months and under per year; more frequent than low speed runovers, drowning and childhood neoplasms.


This article provides a review of the significant incidence and outcomes of abusive head trauma and seeks to raise awareness of the potential of evidence based interventions to reduce infant injury and its consequences in the community.


An evidence based program, the Period of PURPLE Crying®, has been shown to reduce infant injury. An evaluation of the suitability of program materials for different cultural groups in Australia needs to be assessed. Such a scoping project is proposed as a necessary prerequisite to a pilot clinical intervention.

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