Medical evaluation for suspected physical abuse (1874)

Key points below

Why does my child need a medical evaluation?

It is important for your child’s health and well-being that their body be checked.

What happens during the medical evaluation?

The evaluation is very much like a regular check-up. It is done in a child-friendly way.

Why is additional testing done?

Infants and young children may have serious injuries inside the body even if there are no symptoms or bruising. Often these injuries are not noticed by a parent or even by a doctor or nurse during an exam. The best way to find injuries inside the body is to do screening tests. These tests can rule out an injury. They can also diagnose a medical condition that may look like an injury. When these kinds of injuries are found, they often need special treatment. The tests are done for the safety and care of your child.

What tests might need to be done?Imaging examples

Special information

Images (x-rays) may need to be done. Some parents worry about possible harmful side effects from radiation from x-rays. The small risk of radiation is greatly outweighed by the information gained. Special equipment and ways of taking the x-rays makes sure that the radiation exposure is as low as possible. MRI scans do not use radiation.

What happens after the evaluation?

Help through the process:


Call your child’s doctor, nurse, or clinic if you have any questions or concerns or if your child has special health care needs that were not covered by this information.