An allegation of maltreatment, regardless of whether it is ever substantiated, is a strong signal that a young child might experience a fatal injury, according to a study of 4.3 million California children born between 1999 and 2006.
Study author Emily Putnam-Hornstein cross-referenced the birth records of those children with child protective service (CPS) records and death records. She found that of the 26,000 under-5 children who died during that period, about 2,000 died of either intentional and accidental injuries.
The data showed that children who were previously reported to CPS for suspected abuse/neglect were 5.9 times as high as that of other children, and were two times as likely to die from unintentional injuries.
The findings suggest that public health prevention campaigns might be fruitfully targeted to families reported to CPS, whether or not they are actually ever substantiated for maltreatment or abuse.
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