Child abuse – physical

Alternative Names

Battered child syndrome; Physical abuse – children

Definition of Child abuse – physical

Physical child abuse or non-accidental child trauma refers to fractures and other signs of injury that occur when a child is hit in anger.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

Physical abuse tends to occur at moments of great stress. Many people who commit physical abuse were abused themselves as children. As a result, they often do not realize that abuse is not appropriate discipline.

Symptoms

An adult may bring an injured child to an emergency room with a strange explanation of the cause of the injury. The child’s injury may not be recent.

Signs and tests

Typical injuries in abused children include:

Treatment

The physical injuries are treated as appropriate.

Expectations (prognosis)

The child’s physical recovery depends on the severity of the injuries. Psychological recovery depends on the results of therapy, and whether the child can develop trusting relationships with adult caregivers.

Review

Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. – 3/14/2009

ADAM Medical Encyclopedia

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