Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that a distressingly large number of babies are being mistreated in their first year of life in US, totaling 91,278 babies in 2006.

The CDC studied data from the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System between Oct. 1, 2005 and Sept. 30, 2006. This was the first national examination that dealt with nonfatal maltreatments of children younger than 1 year old.

It is very hard to believe that children are being treated this way nowadays. Although the study focused on nonfatal maltreatments, the researchers found that 499 babies up to age 1 had been killed in maltreatment cases in 2006.

One third of the investigated cases, were infants who were abused or neglected in the first week of their life. Neglect was defined as the failure to meet a child’s basic needs such as providing housing, food, clothes and medical care. Neglect cases are usually linked to mothers who are drug users. Neglect accounted for 68.5 % of the reported cases. Physical abuse included beating, kicking, biting, burning and shaking. Around thirteen percent of infants were physically abused by either parents or a caregiver in the first week of life. Slightly over 50 percent of the baby victims were boys.

Although the study focused on the nonfatal maltreatments, we can’t say they were not fatal. Neglected and abused children in infancy have higher risk of develop numerous health and mental problems. They are more prone to developing chronic conditions, such as diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular disease.

Additionally, early abuse raises the risks of risky behavior in adolescence, possibly leading to drug and alcohol use later in life.

Researchers are planning to find out what impact educational level, income and other factors have on maltreatment of infants. They also called upon more attention in prenatal settings and in hospitals before new mothers take their babies home.