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Physical child abuse: Recognition

Stephen C Boos, MD, FAAP
Section Editor
Daniel M Lindberg, MD
Deputy Editor
James F Wiley, II, MD, MPH


This topic will discuss the initial recognition of physical child abuse. The clinical findings, diagnosis, and management of physical child abuse, sexual abuse, and child neglect are discussed separately:

(See "Physical child abuse: Diagnostic evaluation and management" and "Child abuse: Evaluation and diagnosis of abusive head trauma in infants and children".)

(See "Evaluation of sexual abuse in children and adolescents" and "Management and sequelae of sexual abuse in children and adolescents".)

(See "Child neglect and emotional maltreatment".)


Physical child abuse may be broadly defined as injury inflicted upon a child by a parent or caretaker. Specific definitions can vary widely among countries, as well as among different ethnic and religious groups [1,2].

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Literature review current through: Dec 2017. | This topic last updated: Feb 15, 2017.
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