Intended for healthcare professionals

Research Article

Unusual injury? Recent injury in normal children and children with suspected non-accidental injury.

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1982; 285 doi: (Published 13 November 1982) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1982;285:1399
  1. D M Roberton,
  2. P Barbor,
  3. D Hull


    Four hundred normal children aged between 2 weeks and 11 years were examined to determine the prevalence and site of recent injury of any type. There was evidence of injury in 37% with a steady increase in prevalence to 60% by the end of the third year of life. Bruising of the hands and feet and of the lower legs was the most frequent type of injury. Head and facial injuries were most common between 18 months and 3 years (17% of children) but were rare at other ages. Injury to the lumbar region was unusual before 5 years but was present in 14% of children of school age. In 84 children of similar age where non-accidental injury was proved or suspected a different pattern of injury was present. Sixty per cent had injuries to the head and face; this increase in prevalence was seen at all ages. These children also had more frequent injuries in the lumbar region, particularly before the age of 5 years.