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In the United States, abusive head trauma (AHT) is one of the leading causes of maltreatment fatalities among infants and children, accounting for approximately one third of these deaths (1).

Monitoring trends in AHT and evaluating prevention strategies have historically been difficult because of differences in AHT definitions used in research and surveillance. CDC’s case definition for AHT and data from the National Vital Statistics System were used to examine the trends in fatal AHT during 1999–2014 using Joinpoint trend analysis software.

During this period, AHT resulted in nearly 2,250 deaths among U.S. resident children aged <5 years.

Whereas rates were relatively stable during 1999–2009, there was a statistically significant average annual decline of 13.0% in fatal AHT rates during 2009–2014. The fatal AHT rates in 2013 and 2014 (0.41 and 0.43 per 100,000 children aged <5 years, respectively) were the lowest in the 16-year study period.

Although this decline in AHT deaths is encouraging, more can be done to prevent AHT, including family-based interventions and policies that create safe, stable, nurturing relationships and environments for children…

[27 May 2016, CDC MMWR Weekly, ]