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Child Abuse and Head Trauma

Homicide is the leading cause of injury-related death in infants (children under 1 year of age), with death most often resulting from head injury. Child abuse accounts for approximately 60% of head injuries and 95% of intracranial injuries in infants. Brain trauma represents up to 40% of injuries in abused children. Posttraumatic seizures are seen in 5% of minor head injuries and 35% of major head injuries in children. A history of trauma can be difficult to obtain from young children and can be misrepresented by caretakers. A complete physical examination includes a search for bony and soft tissue injuries. Suspected child abuse must be reported to the appropriate legal authorities.


  • The main causes of head trauma is falls, motor vehicle accidents, and result in child abuse.
  • Other common causes such as including violence, gunshots, firearm assaults.
  • If you have any medical conditions such as includes drowning, cardiac arrest, that may also cause head injuries.
  • Sports injuries are also responsible for head injuries.


  • Basilar skull fracture (Battle sign, hemotympanum, otorrhea) or focal neurologic abnormalities (focal motor deficit, pupillary asymmetry) predict +++ chance of abnormal head CT.
  • Glasgow coma score < 13 correlates with abnormal head CT in +++ of children with head trauma.
  • Infants with shaken baby syndrome may not suck or swallow well, may not follow movements, smile, or vocalize, and usually have retinal hemorrhages ++++.
  • Respiratory difficulty or bradycardia may occur in children with severe brain injury.
  • Cervicoencephalic soft tissue injury confirms trauma; associated injuries may demonstrate abuse.


  • If you have minor head injuries, then you can manage it with bed rest, intravenous fluids and pain killing medication. You can also applied ice packs over the scalp to numb the pain and decrease the local swelling.
  • You should be not taken any medicines without talking with your doctor's. This is especially true for aspirin, blood thinners, and drugs that cause drowsiness. You should also avoided the use of alcohol and illicit drugs.
  • Your child's physician can also determined the treatment of a head injury based on your child's age, overall health, and medical history, type of head injury, and your child's tolerance for specific medications, procedures, or therapies.
  • Treatment of head trauma such as including rest, topical antibiotic ointment and adhesive bandage, observation, immediate medical attention, stitches, diagnostic tests, surgery.

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