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Case-control study
Height of head centre of gravity predicts paediatric head injury severity in short-distance falls
  1. Jingwen Hu
  1. University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA
  1. Correspondence to : Dr Jingwen Hu, University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, 2901 Baxter Rd, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA; jwhu{at}

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Short-distance falls are common events in infants and young children, and they are also a common false-case history for child physical abuse cases. Establishing whether a head injury to a child was the result of a short fall or physical abuse can be challenging during a forensic investigation. Current injury assessments on a possible child physical abuse case are principally based on clinical evidence and experts' personal experiences.1 ,2 The relationship between fall height and head injury severity—particularly at low heights—has been debated in the scientific literature. This study investigated the relationship between fall height and head injury severity using witnessed fall cases.


In this study, data from witnessed falls <3 m (10 feet) for children younger than 48 months were collected for two …

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  • Funding National Institute of Justice. Grant number (2012-DN-BX-K045).

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.