This review is designed to aid general pediatricians as they assess cases of possible child maltreatment. The authors have selected salient articles that inform the daily practice of any professional involved in assessing child abuse.
The incidence of child abuse continues to decline in the United States, although a large number of children still suffer from abuse and neglect, and many are subject to more than one type of maltreatment. Clinicians are encouraged to be vigilant about the subtle indicators of physical abuse, with many authors adding to our understanding about how children present after inflicted abdominal or skeletal trauma. Clinicians are also cautioned to watch for signs of Munchausen syndrome by proxy, which may be elusive and difficult to discern.
The field of child abuse pediatrics is still young, with the first board certification in 2009. The volume of research in the field is exploding and there is a greater level of awareness and data collection occurring throughout the world. Pediatric clinicians are encouraged to play a role in preventing abuse and neglect, as well as addressing intimate partner violence, and to maintain vigilance about child maltreatment and its subtle clinical presentations.
aDepartment of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School, USA
bChild Protection Program, Children's Hospital Boston, USA
cChild Protection Consultation Program, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
dDepartment of Pediatrics, University of Missouri Kansas City, USA
eSCAN Program, Children's Mercy Hospital, Kansas City, Missouri, USA
Correspondence to Alice W. Newton, MD, Child Protection Program, Children's Hospital Boston, 300 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA 02115, USA Tel: +1 617 355 7979; fax: +1 617 730 0492; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org