Abstract We report 20 infants aged between 1 month and 6 months found to have subdural bleeding and also multiple unexplained fractures in a pattern similar to that described earlier as temporary brittle bone disease. Child abuse seemed unlikely as a cause of the fractures as in no case was there clinical evidence of injury commensurate with the fracturing, as some patients had fractures while in hospital and as metaphyseal lesions, when present, were often symmetrical in distribution. Abuse seemed unlikely to have been the cause of the subdural bleeding in several patients; three had clear histories of accidental injury and five had evidence that the initial bleeding was likely to have taken place at birth. Abuse also seemed unlikely as the cause of the syndrome; the nine patients who were returned to their parents had no subsequent allegations of abuse with a mean follow-up period of 15.8 years. The finding of hypermobile joints in the parents of eight of the children is an additional pointer to a natural cause for this condition. The cause of this combination of fractures and subdural bleeding is not yet clear but it is important to be aware that it can result from natural disease.