Home International Alarming number of US kids abused, hospitalised

Alarming number of US kids abused, hospitalised


Washington : An “alarming” 4,500-plus children subjected to abuse in the US ended up in hospitals and 300 of them died of injuries in a single year, a study reveals.

Researchers from the Yale School of Medicine, led by John M. Leventhal, professor of paediatrics, used the 2006 Kids’ Inpatient Database (KID) to estimate the incidence of hospitalizations due to serious physical abuse among children younger than 18 years.

“These numbers are higher than the rate of sudden infant death syndrome (about 50 per 100,000 births), which is alarming,” said Leventhal.

Several measures have been used to track the national occurrence of child abuse, including data from Child Protective Services. But until now none quantified the severity of the abuse or whether the child was hospitalized as a result, reported the journal Paediatrics.

KID was prepared by the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project, part of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, a university statement said.

They found 4,569 children were hospitalized in the US in 2006 due to serious abuse; out of which 300 children died. Children in their first year of life were at highest risk of being hospitalized, making up 58.2 per 100,000 children in this age group.

Serious abuse was defined as any child who was admitted to the hospital with an injury that was coded as abuse. Such children included a three-month-old with multiple bruises due to abuse and a three-month-old with life-threatening abusive head trauma.

The definition did not include children admitted with suspicious injuries who were eventually diagnosed as having non-abusive injuries.