Hospitalizations from child-abuse injuries climbed 4.9% between 1997 and 2009, a national study finds, with deaths before discharge also increasing. The data runs "in sharp contrast to data from child protective services," say the study's authors. Those groups found that substantiated child abuse dropped 55% between 1992 and 2009, ABC News reports, while another report, required by Congress, found a 23% decline.
The discrepancy may partially be the result of differences in the specifics of what's being studied: The child protective services study didn't take age or severity of abuse into account. Some 54% of hospitalizations in the new study were of kids less than a year old. "Perhaps all physical abuse is decreasing in the United States, but injuries in very young children have not followed this overall trend," the authors say.