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March 1997

Hospitalization of Abused and Neglected Children

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Pediatrics, The University of Arizona College of Medicine and Steele Memorial Children's Research Center, Tucson.

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1997;151(3):273-275. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1997.02170400059011

Objective:  To describe the use of inpatient hospitalization for abused and neglected children living in a metropolitan area.

Methods:  Retrospective record review of abused and neglected children admitted in 1992 and 1993 to hospitals with 87% of metropolitan area pediatric admissions; comparison of these data with population, crisis nursery, and child protective services data.

Results:  Thirty-four abused and neglected children were admitted to hospital, representing 0.3% (34/11 066; 95% confidence interval, 0%-1.2%) of pediatric admissions and 0.2% (34/19 950; 95% confidence interval, 0%-0.6%) of child protective services reports. This represents a rate of hospitalization for child abuse of 10 children (95% confidence interval, 0-46) per 100 000 child population per year. Seven hundred fifteen children were admitted to the crisis nursery by child protective services. Of those admitted to the hospital, 12 needed intensive care, 5 of whom died. Only 3 of 34 hospital-admitted children had private health insurance; 19 of 34 were younger than 1 year.

Conclusions:  Inpatient hospitalization for abuse represented a small fraction of total pediatric admissions and of child protective services reports. Comprehensive medical care for most abused children and medical education about child abuse must occur in outpatient settings.Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1997;151:273-275