Child abuse is a persistent problem in this country. Research published in February in Pediatrics found that child abuse kills 300 kids under 18 each year and accounts for 58.2 hospitalizations of babies per 100,000 births — more than the annual rate of SIDS. Another recent study made the case that child abuse sets the stage for future mental illness.
For a pediatrician, it can be dicey sussing out whether a child came by a broken bone or a bruise naturally or whether the injury was inflicted by an adult. As of 2009, there is an entirely new specialty devoted to making those types of assessments: the board-certified child abuse pediatrician, who focuses on identifying child maltreatment and neglect.