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Pediatr Emerg Care. 1993 Aug;9(4):199-201.

Trauma in infants less than three months of age.

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Department of Pediatrics, Children's Hospital of Michigan, Wayne State University School of Medicine, Detroit 48201.


We evaluated the characteristics of traumatic injury and risk for subsequent trauma in infants less than three months of age (n = 111). Medical records were reviewed at presentation and one year later. Injury was due to abuse/neglect in 28%, whereas 72% were accidentally injured. Falls were the most common mechanism of accidental injury (67%). The percentage of infants with skull fractures was greater in the abuse/neglect group than in the accidental group (7/31 vs 7/80; P < 0.05) with a tendancy toward more diastatic and multiple skull fractures (6/7 vs 2/7) as well as intracranial hemorrhages (3/7 vs 0/7). More infants in the abuse/neglect group suffered extremity fractures (4/31 vs 2/80; P < 0.05). Hospitalization was more frequent (12/31 vs 8/80; P < 0.001), as was social or protective service intervention (25/31 vs 17/80; P < 0.001), in the abuse/neglect group. The two groups showed no difference in the number of previous emergency department (ED) visits; however, the use of the ED declined significantly in the abuse/neglect group following the trauma (0.81 +/- 1.2 vs 1.5 +/- 2.1 visits; P < 0.05). The abuse/neglect group tended to have a greater number of subsequent traumatic injuries than those accidentally injured. Abuse/neglect should be considered in any seriously injured infant less than three months of age because of the likelihood of subsequent trauma.

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[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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