Paediatric abusive head trauma (AHT) is a leading cause of fatal child maltreatment among young children. Current prevention efforts have not been consistently effective. Policies such as paid parental leave could potentially prevent AHT, given its impacts on risk factors for child maltreatment. To explore associations between California's 2004 paid family leave (PFL) policy and hospital admissions for AHT, we used difference-in-difference analyses of 1995–2011 US state-level data before and after the policy in California and seven comparison states. Compared with seven states with no PFL policies, California's 2004 PFL showed a significant decrease in AHT admissions in both <1 and <2-year-olds. Analyses using additional data years and comparators could yield different results.
Paid family leave's effect on hospital admissions for pediatric abusive head trauma