Functional Time Limit and Onset of Symptoms in Infant Abusive Head Trauma

Chelsy Foulk, SN

Infant abusive head trauma is a distressing and heartbreaking topic. Nevertheless, it is an important one to know more about so that medical professionals can respond to, and aid in the best and most educated way possible at this extremely tender stage of life.

When infant abusive head trauma is suspected, it is important to know when it occurred and to have an established functional time limit. This limit is the interval between when the infant was last seen functioning normal and when head injury symptoms are confirmed. It is not only helpful in criminal investigations to bring the perpetrator to justice, but also to understand neurological injury.

In the article, Functional time limit and onset of symptoms in infant abusive head trauma, by Dean L. Biron and Doug Shelton, 3 key points were determined.

  1. In 11 of 16 cases of infant abusive head trauma where a functional time limit could be reliably established, there is evidence of an immediate neurological response on the part of the victim.
  2. When treated with appropriate caution and in light of all the available evidence, perpetrator statements can assist researchers in understanding the post-assault response of infant victims.
  3. Medical, law enforcement and child welfare authorities should come together on a more frequent basis to conduct collaborative research into infant abusive head trauma.


Biron, D. L. and Shelton, D. (2007), Functional time limit and onset of symptoms in infant abusive head trauma. Journal of Pediatrics and Child Health, 43: 60–65. doi:10.1111/j.1440-1754.2007.01004.x

Please follow and like us:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *