Approximately eight percent of boys and five percent of girls aged three to seventeen have had a significant head injury at some point in their lives.
While those aren’t particularly high numbers, it’s still important to know how to help your child avoid joining either of those groups. Read on to learn more about children’s head injuries and how you can prevent them.
Most Common Children’s Head Injuries
Some of the most common children’s head injuries that you need to help your child avoid include:
Subarachnoid or intracranial hemorrhage
Subdural or epidural hematoma
Common Signs of Head injuries
Sometimes, head injuries are obvious, especially when there’s visible bleeding or bruising. But, other times, your child may seem totally fine until you take a closer look. If you know that your child has suffered a fall or another form of trauma to the head, be on the lookout for these common signs of head injuries:
Trouble remembering the accident or cause of their injury
Feeling dizzy or lightheaded
Loss of consciousness
Difficulty speaking or understanding
Changes in mood (feeling anxious or depressed)
Common Causes of Children’s Head Injuries
While you shouldn’t necessarily ban your child from participating in certain activities, it’s important to know how most children’s head injuries occur. Listed below are some of the most common causes of children’s head injuries:
Motor vehicle accidents
Pedestrian or cycling accidents
Falls from playground equipment
Recreational activities like diving, swimming, and skateboarding
Sports-related trauma, especially from contact sports like football or soccer
Children’s Head Injuries: 5 Easy Ways to Prevent
As you can see, there are lots of different situations that can lead to children’s head injuries. Don’t let the risk of an injury stop you from letting your child enjoy their favorite activities, though.
There are lots of things you can do, both inside and outside of the house, to keep your child safe and healthy. Start with these five tips:
1. Make sure they wear a seatbelt
First things first, your child should always wear a seatbelt when they’re riding in the car. No matter how short of a distance you’re traveling, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
If your child is younger than eight years old or shorter than 4’9,” they should be riding in a car or booster seat.
Look for a seat that is specifically designed for their age, height, and weight. A seat that doesn’t fit them properly can actually increase their risk of injury should you get in a car accident.
2. Have them wear a helmet
Your child should also always wear a helmet when they’re playing contact sports or enjoying outdoor activities like riding a bike or skateboard.
The following activities are all ones that require a proper-fitting helmet:
Contact sports like football, ice hockey, and lacrosse
Riding a bike, skateboard, scooter, or rollerblading
Batting or running the bases during softball or baseball games
Skiing, snowboarding, or sledding
To get a helmet that fits properly, talk to a professional at a local sporting goods or bike store.
3. Provide plenty of playground supervision
You don’t need to be a helicopter parent, but you should still make an effort to keep an eye on your child while they’re playing on the playground.
Simply paying attention to what your child is doing can significantly minimize the risk of them experiencing a head injury. This means watching them, not your phone, while they play.
You should also make an effort to seek out playgrounds that are built on shock-absorbing materials like mulch or rubber instead of concrete or gravel. It’s not always possible to find playgrounds like this, of course, but if you do have access to one, be sure to take advantage of it.
4. Install guards on windows
In addition to being at risk while playing sports or playing on the playground, there are a number of ways that children can hurt their heads while playing in their own homes.
One of the easiest ways to protect your child from a head injury is to make sure that your windows are guarded. Install window guards on windows that can be easily opened is an easy way to prevent falls.
5. Fall-proof bathrooms and bedrooms
Finally, it’s also important to make sure you’ve fall-proofed the bathrooms and bedrooms of your home as much as possible. Some simple ways to do this include:
Keeping the side rails of your child’s crib up
Buying single beds rather than bunk beds to discourage jumping or hanging over the side
Investing in rubber bath mats to ensure safety in the shower, even for kids
Installing baby gates at the top of the stairs for young children
Preventing children’s head injuries can seem overwhelming at first. But, the more you know about signs to look for and common causes of these injuries, the easier it is. Get started today, and you’ll be able to rest easy knowing your child is protected.