The Yale School of Medicine has undertaken an extensive research project to determine just how widespread serious child abuse is in this country. They have found, according to their research paper published in Pediatrics, that approximately 4,500 children were admitted to hospitals last year due to physical abuse and 300 of them died.
The Yale School of Medicine undertook the study when it was discovered that no national statistics regarding child abuse injuries are gathered, and thus reported in this country. They note that while some Child Protective Service agencies for various states do track the number of children that are admitted to hospitals in their states, no vehicle exists for compiling those statistics or for gathering data from other sources.
To get at the actual numbers, the team led by Doctor 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, accessed the Kid’s First national database, which tracks maladies in children in general. There they siphoned out just those cases that appeared to be the result of child abuse. By doing so, they found 4,569 cases of child abuse that was extensive enough to warrant hospitalization. In that same study, they found that children in their first year of life were most susceptible to harm, accounting for just over fifty eight percent of all cases.
The team also notes that as the reached progressed that there was a horrific variety of kinds of child abuse that resulted in hospitalization of children, ranging from blunt force trauma to choking, scalding and bruising caused by being struck with a veritable smorgasbord of objects.
Sadly, the team also found that the number of child deaths for those under the age of one, was higher than for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDs). And perhaps even sadder were figures that highlighted that children who were covered by Medicaid showed rates of abuse six times higher than the average, indicating that families with low incomes are more likely to abuse their children.
And as with all other medical research project, the team did some financial analysis and found that the cost of treating child abuse victims came to almost seventy five million dollars a year.
In summing up, the research team noted that their survey likely missed many cases of child abuse, either because it wasn’t reported or because the child wasn’t taken to an emergency care facility. This means of course, that the real numbers are most certainly higher. A sobering statistic if ever there was one.