More Than 4,500 Children Hospitalized for Abuse in 2006

Incidence of abuse highest in infants, particularly those covered by Medicaid

MONDAY, Feb. 6 (HealthDay News) -- More than 4,500 children were hospitalized due to serious physical abuse in 2006, and 300 of these children died in the hospital due to physical abuse, according to a study published online Feb. 6 in Pediatrics.

John M. Leventhal, M.D., of the Yale University School of Medicine in New Haven, Conn., and colleagues analyzed the 2006 Kids' Inpatient Database (KID) to estimate the incidence of hospitalizations due to serious physical abuse among children (<18 years of age). Abuse was defined by using International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision, Clinical Modification codes for injuries, physical abuse, selected assault codes, or child battering. Analysis was conducted on hospitalized children classified into three groups: abusive injuries, non-abusive injuries, and all other reasons for hospitalization.

The researchers found that the incidence of abuse was 6.2 per 100,000 children and the weighted number of cases due to abuse was 4,569. The highest incidence was seen in children younger than 1 year of age (58.2 per 100,000), and incidence was even higher in infants covered by Medicaid (133.1 per 100,000). There were 300 children who died in the hospital due to physical abuse.

"In this study, the first to use the KID to estimate the number of children with serious abusive injuries resulting in hospitalizations, we found 4,569 children nationally in 2006; 300 of these children (6.6 percent) died because of their abuse," the authors write.

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