Twice as many babies sent to hospital with ‘maltreatment injuries,’ CHEO reports


A children’s hospital in Ottawa says it’s seen more than double the usual number of babies needing treatment for head injuries and fractures since September.

CHEO says 20 babies under the age of one have been brought in with “maltreatment injuries” in that time, up from eight in the same time frame in the previous year.

It says the figure suggests parents need more support during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The hospital’s medical director for child and youth protection says she’s never seen so many infants with serious maltreatment injuries in her 16 years at CHEO.

Dr. Michelle Ward says that during the pandemic, it can feel like there’s no support for parents, but that’s not the case.

The hospital is urging anyone who needs support to reach out to Ottawa Public Health, which has many resources available.

Ward said serious injuries can happen in “just a few seconds of frustration.”

“It’s a stressful time for parents and caregivers,” she said in a news release. “We all know it takes a village to raise a child. With staying at home during the pandemic, it can feel like the village is gone – be reassured, it’s not.”