Brain injuries are devastating in children.
Today, traumatic brain injuries remain the leading cause of both death in children.
For those children lucky enough to survive, an early brain injury can have life-long consequences. Brain injuries often affect a child’s ability to learn even years after the injury. Young victims are particularly vulnerable because most brain development occurs between the ages of 1 and 5. Even as children get older, studies still suggest that the younger they are at the time of injury, the more serious problems they will face.
And even when a child has a satisfactory or normal IQ levels, emotional problems caused by the head injury set them back. One study found that 19 of 22 children with brain injuries showed long-term emotional issues.
These problems have a real economic value. One study found that only 27 percent of kids who sustained brain injuries were working full-time by the time they reached age 21.
Unfortunately, auto accidents are the leading cause of brain injury-related deaths in children. Proper use of seat belts and car seats can really help minimize these risks.
Falls still account for most brain injuries in children, including falling down stairs, falling off of playground equipment, and falling out windows. Parents can help reduce the risk for these types of injuries by child-proofing the house and making sure that playgrounds are protected by twelve inches of soft surface material (such as mulch, gravel, etc.)
Bicycle accidents also account for thousands of brain injuries per year. Parents can reduce the risk of bicycle-related brain injuries by teaching their children bicycle safety and making sure that children are properly using bicycle helmets.