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June 1992

Physical Abuse of Children: A Retrospective Review and an Otolaryngology Perspective

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Pediatric Otolaryngology and Maxillofacial Surgery, Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, Ohio.

Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1992;118(6):584-590. doi:10.1001/archotol.1992.01880060032010

• Child abuse is a common problem seen by practicing physicians. To further define the incidence and the type of head and neck injury in children referred for evaluation of child abuse, a 5-year retrospective study of 4340 patients was undertaken. Of these patients, 2950 (68%) were victims of sexual abuse, while 1390 (32%) were victims of physical abuse. Forty-nine percent of patients abused physically had evidence of injury to the head and neck region, while only 1% of the sexually abused children had injuries in the head and neck area. The age of the patients ranged from 1 day to 17 years, with a mean of 5.6 years. More than 150 of these children were under the age of 1 year; 180 patients were admitted. The average age of the admitted patients was 2.1 years. The alleged perpetrator, mechanism of injury, and location of injury were tabulated. There were 11 deaths in the series (1.6%). Child abuse has been defined in our institution as any injury inflicted on a child. Identification and reporting of suspected child abuse is required by law and essential for the well-being of the abused child. Recommendations are made concerning the evaluation of these children, their management, and the physician's legal responsibility to report suspected cases of child abuse.

(Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1992;118:584-590)