Studies have shown that in children under 3 years old, skull fractures are by far the most common fracture type in both abused and non-abused children. It goes without saying that a baby’s skull is delicate and susceptible to injury. This has led to a long-standing controversy in how to determine whether a skull fracture sustained by an infant is due to accident or abuse.
A skull fracture usually occurs when an infant is dropped or falls from a height, or they have a falling object impact their head. Whether that is a large household utility, such as a television, or a particularly heavy children’s toy; as was seen in one unfortunate case in Bangladesh where a child suffered a skull fracture due to the impact caused by a toy aeroplane.
When a medical practitioner observes a skull fracture which shows multiple fractures, bilateral fractures, and fractures with complex configuration, child abuse must always be considered as a possible cause of injury. Although studies suggest that these types of infant skull fractures should raise suspicions of abuse, a full and detailed evaluation, often involving consultation with a child abuse expert, may assist with understanding plausible mechanisms of injury and whether the history provided by the child’s caregiver is a credible explanation of the observed fractures.
Once a medical practitioner reasonably suspects that a skull fracture has been caused by child abuse, it is vitally important that the medical history, clinical, radiographic, and biomechanical evidence are thoroughly reviewed to confirm that such abuse has taken place. An incorrect diagnosis can have devastating consequences to both the child and their family.
When an injury has been identified, either with no explanation or with an explanation that the doctors do not accept, it is likely that social services will become involved and the Local Authority will start care proceedings.
An allegation of child abuse can be earth shattering for any family and so it is important to obtain sound legal advice as early as possible. It is equally as important to instruct a solicitor with the right knowledge and expertise for your circumstances.
Our team at Farleys Solicitors have a wealth of knowledge and experience when it comes to care proceedings and if you are the subject of such proceedings, please do get in touch by calling 0845 287 0939 or send your enquiry through our online contact form.