The child abuse reporting records of 616 children seen by the child abuse team in a metropolitan children's hospital were analyzed. Boys were referred for abuse more often than girls, and black children were reported disproportionately more often than were white children. Mothers were the most frequent perpetrators of abuse, although males constituted more than half of the abusers. Bruises were the most frequent manifestation of abuse. The types of injury, injury site and types of instruments used varied with the age and race, but not the sex of the child. The wide variety of instruments used to perpetrate child abuse resulted in a broad spectrum of injury types. If professionals are to recognize common and early manifestations of child abuse, they must be aware of the influence of regional socioeconomic and cultural factors on the spectrum of child abuse.