Physical abuse highest in infants younger than one year


London:  A study revealed that among children who endure physical abuse, it is the infants less than a year old, who bear the highest risk of physical abuse.

According to researchers, their age coupled with the magnitude of the injuries creates a situation where they are three times more at death risk than children who have been through any other trauma.

The TARN database helped scientists reach this conclusion. TARN keeps a record of patients who received three days or more of hospital treatment to address their serious physical injuries.

About 16,000 such cases involving children under 16 cropped up from the time period of 2004-2013.

The database from 2012 showed significantly more number of cases of deliberate physical abuse in infants and very young children.

The data had categories separating injuries caused accidentally, suspected child abuse, and cases of alleged assault, which also housed injuries from fights.

In almost all the cases in which abuse was suspected, the children were aged below five. Three-fourth of that number were aged even less than 12 months.

“The injuries of abused children were more severe and tended to involve the head/brain,” noted the authors of the study published in the Emergency Medicine Journal.

Injuries caused by accident more than often affected the limbs while supposed assaults involved the torso.

Injuries are the cause of death for a relatively small children population but for those who were abused, the risks increased to three times.

Researchers noted that the cause might be, that as the children grew up and developed a more robust body, they were more resistant to injuries. So, it would be difficult to inflict trauma on an older child, while the same level of physical abuse might gravely harm an infant.