Abusive head trauma (AHT) remains a significant cause of morbidity and mortality in the pediatric population, especially in young infants. In the past decade, advancements in research have refined medical understanding of the epidemiological, clinical, biomechanical, and pathologic factors comprising the diagnosis, thereby enhancing clinical detection of a challenging diagnostic entity. Failure to recognize AHT and respond appropriately at any step in the process, from medical diagnosis to child protection and legal decision-making, can place children at risk. The American Academy of Pediatrics revises the 2009 policy statement on AHT to incorporate the growing body of knowledge on the topic. Although this statement incorporates some of that growing body of knowledge, it is not a comprehensive exposition of the science. This statement aims to provide pediatric practitioners with general guidance on a complex subject. The Academy recommends that pediatric practitioners remain vigilant for the signs and symptoms of AHT, conduct thorough medical evaluations, consult with pediatric medical subspecialists when necessary, and embrace the challenges and need for strong advocacy on the subject.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health