Incidence of AHT

This syndrome occurs most frequently in infants under the age of 6 months. It can occur in children under five years of age with children under 1 year of age being most susceptible. There are approximately 1,300 cases of AHT are reported every year. The US government estimates that about 30 children younger than one year of age per 100,000 are injured from AHT, resulting in at least 80 deaths each year. Many other incidences occur but are not reported (Parks, Sugarman, & Coronado, 2012).

Morbidity and Mortality

Approximately 25% of children diagnosed with AHT die and about 80% of survivors suffer lifelong disabilities. AHT is the leading cause of child abuse deaths in the U.S. (Klevens & Leeb, 2010).


Parks, S.E., Sugerman, D., Xu, L. & Coronado, V. (2012). Characteristics of non-fatal abusive head trauma among children in the USA, 2003-2008: application of the CDC operational case definition to national hospital inpatient data. Inj Prev. 18, 392-8.

Klevens, J. & Leeb, R. (2010). Child maltreatment fatalities in children under five: Findings from the National Violent Death Reporting System. Child Abuse Negl. 34(4), 262-266.