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Recommendations Issued for Pediatric Abuse-Related Head Trauma

Recommendations for pediatricians include remaining vigilant for signs, consulting subspecialists

TUESDAY, March 24, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- In an American Academy of Pediatrics policy statement, published online March 23 in Pediatrics, recommendations are presented for pediatricians to manage abusive head trauma (AHT) in infants and children.

Sandeep K. Narang, M.D., from the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University in Chicago, and colleagues developed a policy statement relating to AHT, which incorporated some of the recent knowledge relating to the topic.

The authors recommend that pediatric practitioners remain vigilant for the signs, symptoms, and head injury patterns that characterize AHT. Infants and children who present to medical care with signs and symptoms of potential AHT should undergo a thorough and objective medical evaluation. Partners in the medical evaluation include consultants in radiology, ophthalmology, neurosurgery, general pediatric surgery, and other subspecialties. To ensure the medical evaluation is complete and that the diagnosis is accurate, pediatric practitioners should consider consulting a subspecialist in the field of child abuse. When there is reasonable suspicion or reasonable cause to believe AHT has occurred, cases should be reported to child protective services. For survivors of AHT, pediatric practices should provide medical homes or offer referral to medical homes to help achieve optimal rehabilitation and long-term monitoring. Pediatric practitioners should educate parents and caregivers about safe approaches to soothing infants and coping with crying infants.

"Sadly, about five children die every day in America from abuse and neglect, and the greatest risk here is someone missing the signs," a coauthor said in a statement.

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