Paediatric abusive head trauma (AHT) is a leading cause of fatal child maltreatment among young children. Current prevention efforts have not been consistently effective. Policies such as paid parental leave could potentially prevent AHT, given its impacts on risk factors for child maltreatment. To explore associations between California's 2004 paid family leave (PFL) policy and hospital admissions for AHT, we used difference-in-difference analyses of 1995–2011 US state-level data before and after the policy in California and seven comparison states. Compared with seven states with no PFL policies, California's 2004 PFL showed a significant decrease in AHT admissions in both <1 and <2-year-olds. Analyses using additional data years and comparators could yield different results.
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Contributors JK conceptualised and led the study design, assisted in interpreting the results, led the drafting and editing of the manuscript and approved the final manuscript as submitted. FL assisted with the study design, conducted the data analyses, interpreted the results, contributed to drafting and editing the manuscript and approved the final manuscript as submitted. LX contributed to data analyses, the drafting and editing of the manuscript and approved the final manuscript as submitted. NEL contributed to the drafting and editing of the manuscript and approved the final manuscript as submitted.
Competing interests None declared.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
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