Established in 1982, at Brendan Fleming Solicitors we specialise in Family Law, offering our clients expert legal advice in both Public and Private Law matters, including Care Proceedings, Non-Accidental Injury, Divorce & Children’s Proceedings and issues with Social Services.


Contact Brendan Fleming Solicitors by emailing or by calling 0121 683 5000


Contact our Non-Accidental Injury Department on 07730 143 432. If it is out of hours, you can call our staffed 24 hour helpline on 0121 683 5000. Alternatively you can email us on

Our Location

165 Newhall Street
St. Paul’s Square
Birmingham B3 1SW


0121 683 5000


Signs of Non-Accidental Injury

Signs of Non-Accidental Injury

Brendan Fleming Solicitors are committed to providing justice for parents who have been wrongly accused of causing injuries to their children.  To this end, we have created a dedicated Non-Accidental Injury (NIA) Department. Brendan Fleming Solicitors have earned a UK wide reputation as being experts in this specialised field of family law, and deal with all clients in a caring, down to earth and professional manner.


We represent parents who have been wrongly accused of causing injury to their child whether this be in respect of bruising, fractures, injuries to the eyes, head injuries and unexplained infant death just to list a few. We also represent parents when they have been accused of Fabricated or Induced Illness (FII) also sometimes called Munchausen Syndrome.  There are also cases that concern alleged poisoning of a child.


Below are the most common types and signs of Non-Accidental Injury

Non-Accidental Head Injury:

Unexplained Child Death (EDS):

The loss of a child is one of the most devastating things that could happen to a parent.  Sometimes a child’s death can be explained by way of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) or natural causation.  However, there are times when the cause of death is unknown, or the circumstances are suspicious.  Some parents find themselves being investigated for causing or allowing the death of their child.  If other children are involved children’s services may become involved with those children being removed from the care of the parents whilst the investigations are ongoing, and the cause of death established.

Vitamin D Deficiency:

Many people, including children, have Vitamin D deficiencies.  When babies are in utero they take a supply of their Vitamin D from their mother.  Needless to say there are some theories that if the mother is Vitamin D deficient then the child will be as well upon birth.  Similarly, when a child is breast fed from a mother with a deficiency the child would not be having enough of the vitamin.  However, each person is individual.  We get Vitamin D from food and sunlight.  If a child gets Vitamin D then their supply will be restored if it was at some point deficient.  There can be difficulties when a child does not have enough Vitamin D.

There are causal links between Vitamin D deficiencies and fractures in young babies. It is thought a deficiency could lead to weaker bones.  In severe cases a child may develop Ricketts.  This is a difficult illness to detect in young children and it is usually difficult, unless severe, to have radiological evidence of a Vitamin D deficiency and thus biochemical tests may be required.  Even if a child has a Vitamin D deficiency it does not necessarily mean that the child would be more susceptible to fractures or that less force would be required.  Medical research and knowledge on this issue is advancing.

Alongside Vitamin D deficiencies, there may be deficiencies of Vitamin C (Scurvy), Copper (Menkes Disease) and many other childhood illnesses which all have to be explored by the medical professionals involved in the care of a child.

There may also be haematological abnormalities which may result in a child’s blood not being able to clot properly.

There are many deficiencies that may affect the make up of a child and these all have to be explored and ruled out as a potential cause or contribution to injuries sustained by children.

Mouth Injury:

Mouth injuries are not different to any other injuries that children may sustain.  In children they can range from bruising around the mouth, tears in the mouth through to damage to teeth and can indicate physical or sexual abuse and/or neglect, which is why any concerns must be investigation by children’s services.  If a child has been forced to consume a hot substance then there may also be evidence of burns.


If your child has sustained an injury to one or more of their teeth, you will be questioned by the dentist examining your child as to how it happened.  If they suspect the injury was caused by abuse or neglect, then they have a duty to inform authorities.


Torn frenulums are often thought to be a sign of physical abuse in a child and are uncommonly seen in hospitals.  They are checked for as part of medical examinations of the child and often you will see ‘frenulum intact’ in medical records if there is no injury or abnormality.  There are 3 frenula’s within the mouth, all of which would be checked for signs of injury.  There is one under the tongue, one inside the lower lip and one inside the upper lip.  Each are capable of being damaged.  As they are relatively protected any sign of injury is usually considered to be suspicious.


Medical professionals are required to look out for signs of abuse when presented with this type of injury because it can be caused by a blow to the mouth or through forcing an object into it.

Bruising/Petechial Haemorrhages:

This is an extremely common area of injury and one that often leads to the involvement of children’s services where they occur in children who are not yet considered to be mobile or when an explanation is not consistent with the injury observed.   When a child is non mobile bruising is suspicious as they could not cause the injury to themselves without a carer having observed the cause and also, they do not have the required physical force to cause this to themselves.  Therefore, caution calls into question whether they could have been inflicted upon them.


With mobile children the issue is whether the bruises are of a ‘normal’ childhood injury occurring in normal handling and normal play.  However, children who present with excessive bruising or unexplained bruising causes concern.


Bruises are observed in a number of way from individual marks to patterns of marks.  Some have formed the typical hand/grab mark pattern with the linear distinction of the fingers and ‘classic’ palm-print area.  Some present as finger tip bruising.  Others may be circular in appearance.  Sometimes there are petichae markings which are minute red/ purple spots on the surface of the skin as a result of tiny bleeds of the blood vessels under the skin.  Sometimes bruising may be caused through an impact injury with an object whether yielding or unyielding or handling that is considered beyond normal. Bruises come in all shapes and sizes and also colours.  This causes concerns from professionals involved with children.


Bruising can occur on all parts of the body, it is not specific.  However, there are some areas which are more alerting than others for example, genital bruising, bruising to the pinnae of the ears, the fleshy parts of the cheek, the back, abdomen etc.


It is important when considering bruising to a child whether there may be some underlying reason/ cause which may pre-dispose a child to bruise easier than a normal child.  Therefore, clotting tests should be done at the hospital to rule out coagulation disorders.  A haematologist may be instructed to assist on such matters to establish if there is any abnormality with the blood.


It is also important to remember that some medical conditions have symptoms associated with easy/ spontaneous bruising such as Ehlers Danlos Syndrome.


There some medical conditions which can mimic bruising such as Acute Haemorrhagic Odema of Infancy and Phytophotodermalitis which can present with bruise like pigmentation of the skin. There are also Mongolian Blue Spots to be considered which are sometimes mistaken for bruising.


Ehlers Danlos Syndrome:

EDS, is a genetic connective tissue disorder which may predispose the sufferer to easy bruising and/or easy bleeding. EDS is an inherited condition, usually from a parent or blood relative and is characterised by various physical features of varying severity. There are currently known to be 6 different types of EDS from hypermobility type (EDS-HT) which can be characterised by hypermobile joints, increased skin elasticity and the skin having a silky appearance and feel, to the most severe degree which can cause spontaneous rupturing of the blood vessels and other chronic and potentially life threatening physical manifestations.

In the context of Non-Accidental Injury, EDS can be identified as a contributory factor in some injuries such as bruising and haemorrhaging. EDS is becoming increasingly recognised as a contributory cause in some NAI cases where it is identified through genetic assessment. Where an assessment for EDS is justified, usually through the exploration of family medical histories and the identification of certain medical characteristics which may point towards the presence of this condition, EDS can explain the presence of, for example, bruising or haemorrhaging through apparently minor trauma. Most of the EDS types are incredibly rare and are not usually identified, however EDS-HT (hypermobility type) is becoming more widely recognised as a potential contributor in this field.

Eye Injury:

Ophthalmological (eye) Injuries can present either individually or alongside other injuries, i.e Non Accidental Head Injury.  Injuries may be to one eye or bilateral (both eyes).  Of course there are medical conditions which may explain ophthalmological injuries  and they will be considered by the medical professionals.


There are various types of ophthalmological injuries including pre-retinal haemorrhages, intra-retinal haemorrhages, sub conjunctival haemorrhages, vitreous haemorrhages, they are all bleeding to the eye just sometimes in different parts.  There may be damage to the optic disks there may not.  There may be detached retinas.  There may be macular folds.  If injuries to the eyes are identified then an expert Ophthalmologist is usually appointed to assist with the identification, causation, ageing, mechanism and timing. It is known that sometimes retinal haemorrhages can be caused as part of the birth process.

Bite Marks:

There are a few reasons why bite marks can cause medical professionals and children’s services to suspect a parent of child abuse. Firstly, outside of main caregivers, it is very difficult for an adult to get close enough to inflict a bite on a child. Secondly, bites inflicted on a child by an adult is usually done in uncontrolled rage.  Thirdly, the old adage of , ‘if your child bites you, you must bite them back to teach them it hurts’ is still bandied about in some circles.


Every parent knows that most toddlers go through a biting stage.  Children often bite each other in a nursery or school setting.  Teachers usually know who the biting children are and also know when a child has fallen victim to this due to seeing the event or hearing a scream as bites usually hurt.  It is common sense that a child who inflicts a bite on another child will leave a smaller bite imprint than that of an adult.    Sometimes, siblings bite each other at home.


A parent may be accused of biting their child, when in fact; the injury could have been inflicted by a child at school or nursery, or by an older brother or sister.

If you find yourself being accused of causing an injury to your child, please contact one of our specialist team today.

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Arrange a consultation – 0121 683 5000. Or email us at