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Is It an Accident or Abuse? Researchers Develop Predictive Models for Pediatric Head Injuries

NCJ Number
Date Published
March 2024

Every year almost 3 million children are brought into emergency rooms with fall-related injuries, and in each case a physician must examine the child to determine if the injury was an accident or a case of abuse. The problem is daunting because accidental falls are common in children, but it’s also common for individuals to conceal child abuse by claiming accidental injury. For more than a decade, the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) has supported research to help physicians and law enforcement sort accident from abuse cases when presented with an injured child. The research has often focused on bringing the science of biomechanics to the world of pediatric medical assessment. Although progress is being made, the challenges of getting definitive answers remains. This article summarizes two recently completed studies that continue that progress.

Date Published: March 1, 2024