The shifting trends in the epidemiology and risk factors of non-accidental fractures in children

Soroush Baghdadi, David Momtaz, Beltran Torres-izquierdo, Daniel E. Pereira, Rishi Gonuguntla, Mehul Mittal, Pooya Hosseinzadeh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Fractures are a common presentation of non-accidental trauma (NAT) in the pediatric population. However, the presentation could be subtle, and a high degree of suspicion is needed not to miss NAT. Objective: To analyze a comprehensive database, providing insights into the epidemiology of fractures associated with NAT. Participants and setting: The TriNetX Research Network was utilized for this study, containing medical records from 55 healthcare organizations. TriNetX was queried for all visits in children under the age of 6 years from 2015 to 2022, resulting in a cohort of over 32 million. Methods: All accidental and non-accidental fractures were extracted and analyzed to determine the incidence, fracture location, and demographics of NAT. Statistical analysis was done on a combination of Python and Epipy. Results: Overall, 0.36 % of all pediatric patients had a diagnosis of NAT, and 4.93 % of fractures (34,038 out of 689,740 total fractures) were determined to be non-accidental. Skull and face fractures constituted 17.9 % of all NAT fractures, but rib/sternum fractures had an RR = 6.7 for NAT. Children with intellectual and developmental disability (IDD) or autism spectrum disorder (ASD) had a 9 times higher risk for non-accidental fractures. The number of non-accidental fractures significantly increased after 2019. Conclusions: The study findings suggest that nearly 1 out of all 20 fractures in children under age 6 are caused by NAT, and that rib/sternum fractures are most predictive of an inflicted nature. The study also showed a significant increase in the incidence of NAT, during and after the pandemic.

Original languageEnglish
Article number106692
JournalChild Abuse and Neglect
StatePublished - Mar 2024


  • Child abuse
  • Epidemiology
  • Fracture
  • Non-accidental trauma
  • Pediatric orthopaedics
  • Pediatric trauma


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