Child abuse, sudden infant death syndrome, infectious disease, and vaccinations

A. Walker, R. Chernoff, A. Joffe, M. E.H. Wilson

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Clinicians all too often face the difficult dilemma of deciding whether a bone fracture in a young child was intentional. A structured expert consensus process suggests that all rib fractures; midshaft or metaphyseal fractures of the humerus; and fractures of the radius, ulna, tibia, or fibula in children younger than 1 year of age are highly likely to have been caused by abuse. Abused children are more likely to have negative social relationships with other children than their school-aged peers. Research on the causes of sudden infant death syndrome is still confounded by the likelihood that some deaths for which the label was misapplied are included in many studies; however, the presence of smokers in the household in the postnatal period appears to be yet another factor associated with increased risk. Congenital syphilis is on the rise. Detection of infants who have been infected is incomplete. Lack of prenatal care is strongly associated with infection. Cord serology is not sensitive enough to detect all possible cases. Testing of both maternal and neonatal sera results in detection of more infants at risk. Current tests still result in the treatment of some infants who are not themselves infected. Amoxicillin clavulante given twice daily rather then thrice, cefixime given once a day, and a single intramuscular dose of ceftriaxone have all shown acceptable - though not exceptional - cure rates for otitis media. Price is a consideration. Fewer courses of antibiotics would be necessary if more infants were breastfed. Exclusively breastfeeding to at least 4 months cuts the number of bouts of otitis media almost in half. Conjugate vaccines to protect infants and young children from invasive Haemophilus influenzae type b disease have been effective. Incidence has plummeted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)225-231
Number of pages7
JournalCurrent opinion in pediatrics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 1994

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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