Children's non-accidental injuries at an accident and emergency department: does the age of the child and the type of injury matter?

Accid Emerg Nurs. 2006 Jul;14(3):155-9. doi: 10.1016/j.aaen.2006.05.005.


Physical child abuse is a significant social and medical problem within the United Kingdom, and elsewhere. This study considers the role of emergency medical services in the detection of non-accidental childhood injury by examining paediatric attendances at a central London Accident and Emergency department over a two year period. There were 183 recorded episodes of non-accidental injury out of 17,582 paediatric attendances to the A&E department over two years. At bivariate level, non-accidental injury was associated with the age of the patient, and the primary clinical diagnosis groups of wounds, poisoning and burns (p < .01). Attendances by children over the age of 10 years, along with attendances for the treatment of wounds or burns, were statistically significant multivariate predictors of non-accidental injury being recorded in A&E (p < .001). This study shows that about 1 in 100 paediatric attendances at A&E are recorded as non-accidental injury. Young children are less likely to be recorded as non-accidentally injured, compared to adolescents. Health professionals need to be vigilant to the possibility of non-accidental injury for all children using emergency health services.

Publication types

  • Retracted Publication

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Age Distribution
  • Child
  • Child Abuse / diagnosis
  • Child Abuse / statistics & numerical data
  • Child Welfare / statistics & numerical data*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Emergency Nursing / education
  • Emergency Service, Hospital / statistics & numerical data*
  • Health Services Needs and Demand
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Logistic Models
  • London / epidemiology
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Nurse's Role
  • Nursing Assessment
  • Population Surveillance
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Wounds and Injuries / diagnosis
  • Wounds and Injuries / epidemiology*
  • Wounds and Injuries / etiology