Child abuse at the hands of parents or guardianshas become one of the leading causes of death or injury among babies and small children according to the most comprehensive national study to date of child deaths conducted by the U.S. Advisory Board on Child Abuse and Neglect. At least 2,000abused children, most under the age of four, die each year, which is more than die in car accidents, house fires, falls or drownings. Another 160,000 are either permanently disabled or seriously injured. Physical harm is most often inflicted by male caretakers who beat, suffocate or burn a young child when enraged or stressed. Mothers are more frequentlyguilty of severe neglectrather than actual physical abuse.