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Pediatrics Group Advises Doctors on How to Spot Child Abuse

Last Updated: April 27, 2015.

New guidance offers suggestions on protecting children, too.

MONDAY, April 27, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has just released new guidance to help primary care doctors recognize the signs of child abuse.

"Minor injuries in children are incredibly common, and most are not the result of abuse or neglect," report lead author Dr. Cindy Christian, past chair of the AAP Committee on Child Abuse and Neglect, said in an agency news release.

"But sadly we also know how common it is for physicians to miss cases of child physical abuse. When these injuries are not correctly identified, children often return for medical care later with more severe or even fatal injuries," she explained.

Each year in the United States, more than 650,000 children suffer abuse and more than 1,500 die from abuse or neglect, according to the AAP. Survivors often suffer long-term physical and mental health problems.

Examples of possible cases of abuse include multiple fractures or fractures in infants who are not crawling or walking and have no known medical conditions. The report also offers advice about head injury in infants, which could be caused by shaking or blunt impact.

Identifying abuse-related injuries in infants and toddlers can be especially difficult, the report authors noted.

Along with guidance on identifying abuse-related injuries, the report also outlines how doctors can protect children from abuse.

The report was released April 27 in Pediatrics online.

More information

The U.S. National Library of Medicine has more about child abuse.

SOURCE: American Academy of Pediatrics, news release, April 27, 2015


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