Fractures in the Pediatric Emergency Department: Are We Considering Abuse?

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Approximately one fourths of infant fractures are due to abuse. Recognition of abuse is important to avoid further morbidity/mortality. There is limited knowledge regarding how frequently pediatric emergency department clinicians consider abuse in infants with fractures. Our primary objective was to estimate the percentage of infants with fractures for whom abuse was considered, and to examine characteristics associated with abuse consideration. We performed a retrospective review of infants <1 year of age presenting to a pediatric emergency department. Our primary outcome variable was consideration of abuse. Our secondary outcome measures were identification of predictor variables associated with consideration of abuse. We identified 509 infants meeting study criteria. Pediatric emergency physicians considered abuse in approximately two thirds of infants with fractures. Consideration was more likely to occur in younger infants, in the presence of no history or unwitnessed injury mechanism, when evaluated by male physicians, and emergency department encounters from 12 AM to 6 AM.

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