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Nearly 10 out of every 100,000 children died as a result of child abuse in the most impoverished counties.
Nearly 10 out of every 100,000 children died as a result of child abuse in the most impoverished counties.

Poorest US Kids Face Higher Risk of Fatal Abuse

Poorest US Kids Face Higher Risk of Fatal Abuse

Children in America’s poorest communities have three times the risk of dying from child abuse before age 5 compared with children in the wealthiest neighborhoods, a new study finds.
“We think our study should inform public health leaders and local clinicians to be aware that children living in high-poverty communities are really a vulnerable group at increased risk of death due to child abuse,” lead author Dr. Caitlin Farrell, a pediatrician at Boston Children’s Hospital, told Reuters.
Farrell and her team analyzed death certificates for young children and US Census poverty data from 1999 through 2014. For children aged 4 and under, counties with the highest concentrations of poverty had more than triple the rate of child-abuse fatalities compared to counties with the lowest concentrations of poverty, the study reported in Pediatrics found.
Nearly 10 out of every 100,000 children died as a result of child abuse in the most impoverished counties. African-American children were the most vulnerable regardless of where they lived.
Among every 100,000 young children, eight African-Americans died from assault, shaken-baby syndrome, abusive head trauma, suffocation, strangulation or another form of child abuse, compared to three white children, the study found.
The fatality rate for African-American children in the richest counties was higher than the fatality rate for white children in the poorest.
Farrell can’t explain why African-American infants and toddlers were most at risk of dying from abuse.
She called for more research and for the development of policies and plans aimed specifically at protecting poor children and African-American children.
During the 15 years covered by the study, 11,149 children died of child abuse before turning 5 years old. Children under the age of 3 comprised the vast majority, or 71%, of the deaths, the authors wrote.
African-American children represented a disproportionate 37% of the nationwide child-abuse deaths.

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