A six month-old baby and her older brother have been taken into care following the discovery of unexplained injuries.
In Re AK and MK, the baby was taken into hospital after reportedly falling at home. Doctors discovered a number of bone fractures, as well as bite marks and bruises. Both she and her older brother were promptly placed with foster carers and their local authority launched care proceedings.
The parents admitted that the move was justified as they had not properly supervised the baby, allowing her to fall and hurt her arm. The father also admitted that he had bitten the baby. Nevertheless they applied for the children to be returned.
A fact finding hearing was held and the possibility that the baby’s bone fractures had been caused by rickets was discussed. But medical evidence provided by a paediatrician and endocrinologist suggested this was unlikely as the child’s vitamin D levels were not sufficiently low. The father also suggested that the fractures may have been caused by “traditional massage” but this possibility was also rejected as unlikely.
At the High Court, Mrs Justice Pauffley concluded that, on the balance of probabilities, the injuries had not been an accident but had been inflicted by excessive force. The parents had forward thoroughly unconvincing and inconsistent explanations, she said.
Although it was not possible to conclude which of the girl’s parents had inflicted the fractures, the children were clearly at risk of physical injury.