Non-accidental head and neck injuries in children and adolescents
Keywords:Child abuse, child malpractice, forensic odontology, head and neck, non-accidental injuries
Child abuse or maltreatment has been a global problem and research shows that more than half of the cases present with head and neck injuries. This study aimed to propose an online referencing platform for dental professionals to know more about signs of child abuse and neglect (CAN) and how suspicious head and neck injuries might look like in real-life scenarios by proposing a 3D design.
The study was divided into two parts: i) Integrative literature review, ii) Survey. The first part included an integrative literature review to check if there are enough publications by dentists containing real-life images of injuries related to CAN. Using appropriate keywords and searching across four well-known databases 264 publications relevant to CAN were found, of which, only 3 contained real-life images.
Part II of the study included a JISC online survey, consisting of two sections, amongst general dentists, pediatric and forensic dentists. The first section of the survey was about the basic knowledge related to CAN management. A total of 61 dentists from 10 different countries filled the survey, of which 83.1% had seen common head and neck injuries involved in CAN, 61% knew about the dentist’s role in reporting such cases, and 66.1% were familiar with local law enforcements to contact. The second section of the survey involved going through real-life scenarios to check the participants understanding of how to tackle a real-life case concluding that only 4-10 participants managed to figure the aspects vital to check before reporting such cases which include a proper detailed history, any previous injuries and their stage of progression, clinical examination of injuries and finally whether the injuries are consistent with the history given.
To conclude, there is insufficient representation of the real-life head and neck injuries for dentists to see related to child abuse. Also, all specialists agreed that they require further training regarding CAN management with real-life examples. To address this, a 3d model of commonly seen head and neck injuries in CAN along with some other tools, was created for training and educational purposes and was embedded in a website https://3datlasofchildabuse.webflow.io/.