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Over 90,000 U.S. Infants Non-Fatally Mistreated Annually

Neglect cited in 68.5 percent of maltreatment cases involving infants aged 1 week or younger

MONDAY, April 7 (HealthDay News) -- From October 2005 through September 2006, approximately 905,000 U.S. children, nearly 20 percent of whom were younger than 1 year of age, were victims of maltreatment, according to a report published in the April 4 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Melissa L. Brodowski, of the CDC's National Center for Injury Prevention and Control in Atlanta, and colleagues analyzed data from the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System. The data comprises cases of maltreatment for which an investigation or assessment was conducted by a local child protective services agency.

The investigators found that 3.6 million children younger than 18 were subjects of maltreatment investigations during 2006, and that there were 905,000 substantiated cases. There were 91,278 cases of non-fatal maltreatment of infants under 1 year of age, of which 29,881 were 1 week old or younger. Among newborns aged 1 week or younger, the main category of maltreatment was neglect, which accounted for 68.5 percent of cases, the report indicates.

"No standardized definitions of maltreatment are used consistently by all states; therefore, each state maps its own classification of maltreatment," the authors write. "Developing effective measures to prevent maltreatment of infants aged 1 week or younger will require more detailed characterization of neglect in this age group."

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