skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 252949 Find in a Library
Title: Just Science: 2019 NIJ R&D: Just Fundamental Mechanics and Infant Skull Fractures
Author(s): Brittany Coats
Corporate Author: Forensic Technology Center of Excellence (FTCoE)
United States of America
Date Published: May 2019
Page Count: 2
Sponsoring Agency: Forensic Technology Center of Excellence (FTCoE)
Research Triangle Park, NC 27709-2194
National Institute of Justice (NIJ)
Washington, DC 20531
Grant Number: 2016-MU-BX-K110
Sale Source: Forensic Technology Center of Excellence (FTCoE)
c/o RTI International
3040 Cornwallis Road
Research Triangle Park, NC 27709-2194
United States of America
Document: Audio (iTunes)|Audio (Google Play Music)|HTML
Type: Instructional Material (Programmed); Interview; Program/Project Description; Report (Grant Sponsored); Report (Technical Assistance)
Format: Audio (Online)
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This second episode of the 2019 R&D season of the National Institute of Justice’s (NIJ’s) Just Science podcast series consist of an interview with Dr. Brittany Coats, associate professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Utah, who discusses her use of fundamental mechanics to predict infant skull fracture patterns.
Abstract: Dr. Coats has spent years researching biomechanics as a means of understanding the difference between accidental and abusive trauma, especially in infants. In this interview, she discusses the role of experience in understanding head trauma, as well as her personal efforts to create a computational model that can predict how an infant’s skull will fracture in an accident. Dr. Coats first discusses her academic and professional background, notably what led her into a focus on skull injuries in infants and children. Regarding scientific research on child skull fractures, she notes that it is more practical to study pediatric skull injuries that reault from actual accidents, because adult witnesses can provide reasonably accurate descriptions of a fall, and this is then compared with how resulting fracture or injury patterns are caused by accidents with various characteristics. Such scientific knowledge can then lead to suspicions of an abusive injury when parental false descriptions of an accidental fall do not match the injury patterns. The interview also addresses the relatively rapid change in the characteristics of pediatric skull structure, which must be taken into account in analyzing the match between an injury and its cause.
Main Term(s): Forensic science training
Index Term(s): Child abuse; Child abuse detection; Child abuse investigations; Injury investigations; NIJ grant-related documents; NIJ Resources
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.