The March 2012 issue of Pediatrics will contain the first quantified findings detailing the hospitalization rates of children due to serious physical abuse in the United States.
The report, released by the Yale School of Medicine, uncovered 4,569 instances of children being hospitalized due to serious abuse in 2006, with approximately 300 cases in which the children died as a result of serious injuries. According to the findings, children were at their highest likelihood for serious injury within the first 12 months of life, with a projected 58.2 per 100,000 children within the age group being hospitalized for abuse.
Researchers at Yale-New Haven Children’s Hospital used data from the Kids’ Inpatient Database (KID) to estimate the number of incidences in which children younger than 18-years-old were hospitalized due to serious physical abuse in 2006. The Kids’ Inpatient Database was prepared by the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project, under the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.
Head researcher Dr. John M. Leventhal, professor of pediatrics and medical director of the Child Abuse and Child Abuse Prevention Programs at Yale-New Haven Children’s Hospital, said the findings were “alarming.”
“These numbers are higher than the rate of sudden infant death syndrome,” he said.
The report also found that children covered by Medicaid had serious abuse rates that were almost six times higher than children not covered by Medicaid. Additionally, research estimates the national cost for child abuse hospitalizations to be almost $74 million per year.
“This speaks to the importance of poverty as a risk factor for serious abuse,” Leventhal commented. “These data should be useful in examining trends over time and in studying the effects of large-scale prevention programs.”