Eleven newborn babies of normal weights sustained falls onto a hard surface in hospital. The one baby who fell from >1 m sustained clinical and radiological trauma and encephalopathy, with a skull fracture and cerebral contusion. No other baby demonstrated neurological signs despite the presence of parietal skull fractures in four of six who were x rayed; only two babies had scalp swelling. The findings suggest that parietal fractures can result from very low-level falls, and scalp swelling is a poor marker for underlying fracture.
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Competing interests: None.