Tuesday, April 08, 2008


Preventing Childhood Head Injuries

April is Prevent Child Abuse month, but children are injured every day in non-abuse situations that are just as damaging, particularly to the brain. I don't know if there is a Prevent Head Injuries in Kids Month (May is a Brain injuries awareness month but that's primarily for the elderly), but since these problems are more in the open (you can see them at local sporting events or playgrounds), our input or reporting might be more useful. These figures are actually low since they are based on ER statistics and don't include reports from individual doctors, or the children whose parents don't take them to a clinic or doctor.

The top 10 head injury categories among children ages 14 and younger:
    Cycling: 34,359
    Football: 14,626
    Baseball and Softball: 11,835
    Basketball: 11,682
    Skateboards/Scooters: 10,538
    Water Sports: 7,836
    Powered Recreational Vehicles: 7,652
    Soccer: 6,494
    Trampolines: 6,007
    Winter Sports: 4,874
Your child or grandchild should be using a proper helmet 100% of the time in many sports. Helmets and head gear come in many sizes and styles for many sports and must properly fit to provide maximum protection against head injuries. In addition to other safety apparel or gear, helmets or head gear should be worn at all times for:
    Baseball and Softball (when batting)
    Horseback Riding
    Powered Recreational Vehicles

    Head gear is recommended by many sports safety experts for:

    Martial Arts
    Pole Vaulting
Reported at Neurosurgery today

April is also National Facial Protection Month, so the doctors and dentists who see damaged teeth and faces from sports injuries and lacerated faces from dog bites have their own list of precautions, which includes that ever-in-short supply, common sense.
    How can kids and other athletes save face? Just remember these important tips:

    Wear mouth guards for contact sports. Mouth guards can help prevent jaw, mouth and teeth injuries and are less costly than recovering from the injury.
    Wear a helmet. Helmets absorb the energy of an impact. You don't have to lose your head due to a cycling or rollerblading mishap.
    Wear protective eyewear. Don't become a real-life example of the age-old warning: "You'll poke your eye out."
    Wear a face shield to avoid scratched or bruised skin. Hockey pucks, basketballs, and racquetballs can do severe damage.
    Be aware of family pets. About 44,000 people suffer facial injuries from dog bites annually. Supervise children when they're with pets (including cats and rabbits, too).
    Buckle up and use child safety seats. Unbuckled passengers are more likely to suffer a brain injury in a crash than the buckled driver. Air bags save lives!
    Keep babies and toddlers safe. They crawl and climb, so pad sharp corners of tables, lock cabinets, install stairwell safety gates, and secure windows. They also teethe, so hide sharp pencils.
    Be alert even as a spectator. Alert spectators can avoid foul baseballs and flying hockey pucks. Watch your step when climbing bleachers.
    Use common sense. If an activity carries risk of dental/facial injury, gear up. Without it, even a basketball game could land you in the emergency room.


JAM said...

At 45, I'm ever more amazed that I made it to adulthood relatively intact.

I was talking to my younger daughter the other day about seat belts, and how, when I was growing up, no one wore them and they became lost deep into the cracks between the seat and seat backs of cars with old corn chips and whatnot. Even as a kid, I liked the idea of wearing them and would dutifully dig mine out and wear it while my younger brother climbed all over the inside of the car like a little monkey.

But I do remember on long trips at night, laying up on the back deck behind the back seat in the massive Chryslers my Dad loved and watching the stars.

I had at least two confirmed concussions as a kid from bicycle crashes, and probably a couple more as a teen that I didn't tell my parents about and didn't go to the doctor.

When my Dad passed his old pickup truck along to me the first time I was in college, friends would laugh at me for wearing a seatbelt. It didn't have a shoulder strap and I was always afraid I would knock out all of my teeth on massive steering wheel in that old Ford if I were to have a wreck.

ChupieandJ'smama said...

Both my boys wear helmets. It's just one easy thing that a parent can do to protect their children.
And when will Ohio enact a booster seat law? The recommendation is up to age 8, but here in Ohio we say it's only a important until age 4.