Radiographic characteristics of skull fractures resulting from child abuse

AJR Am J Roentgenol. 1987 Jul;149(1):173-5. doi: 10.2214/ajr.149.1.173.


Radiographic characteristics of skull fractures in 39 cases of documented child abuse were compared with skull fractures in 95 cases of accidental injury to determine if differential features could be identified. All children were less than 2 years old. Emergency room and hospital records for these patients were also reviewed. The results of this study show that clinical features did not provide any clues as to whether the children had been injured by abuse or by accident. However, it was found that multiple fractures, bilateral fractures, and fractures crossing sutures occurred significantly more often in abuse cases than in accidental injury. When such fractures are present, abuse should be suspected.

MeSH terms

  • Accidents
  • Child Abuse*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Radiography
  • Skull Fractures / diagnostic imaging*
  • Skull Fractures / etiology