According to the Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA), TBI’s are the leading cause of disability and death among children and adolescents in the U.S. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention affirm this with their finding that persons are at the greatest risk for a TBI between the ages of 0-4 and 15-19.
The symptoms of TBI in the aforementioned groups are similar to those present in adults The nature of the injury, including the severity and anatomical location, greatly affect the consequences. What makes a brain injury different for children is the functional impact.
The brain of a child is in a state of flux, developing and growing on a daily basis. Experts previously believed that children were more likely to recover from TBIs due to this development. Yet recent research shows that this isn’t the case.
Brain Injuries in Children
Concussions in children are common. Toddles and other like-age children sustain frequent bumps and bruises to their heads. Even seemingly insignificant events can result in concussions. Determining whether a young child is concussed may be difficult, as their speech and communication means are limited. They cannot explain feelings of nausea, amnesia or provide detailed descriptions of where they are hurt. For this reason, parents should seek evaluation immediately.
Adults can diagnose acute symptoms such as vomiting, headache, crying or inability to be consoled, restlessness, or irritability.
In fact, TBIs can impair children more than a mature adult who has a injury of a similar severity. Impairments in children may not be noticed right after the accident. Yet, as they are faced with new educational complexity and scenarios, the child’s struggles become apparent.
The BIAA recounts the story of a child, named Betsy, who was in a severe car crash at the age of 6. Betsy continued unimpeded through school until the 5th grade. Betsy’s grades began to slip after that year. The child had trouble understanding the work and became irritable with teachers. Betsy’s mom came across the BIAA and asked them for help. Betsy finally connected, through these channels, with a professional who could help her.
Brain Injuries in Teens
Brain Injuries for college age students can be devastating. College or post-secondary education used to be be unrealistic for persons with brain injuries. There are a number of resources for persons with a brain injury.
The BIAA recommends the following steps to reduce the risk of Traumatic Brain Injury:
- Wear a seatbelt when driving or riding in a vehicle
- Buckle children using child safety seats, booster seats, or seat belts that are proper for the child’s height and weight.
- Wear helmets that fit properly when riding bicycles or participating in any activity where the head may be injured
- Ensure that playground surfaces are made of shock-absorbing material and are maintained at an appropriate depth
- In the home
- Install window guards to prevent children from falling
- Use safety gates at the top and bottom of stairs
- Keep stairs clear of clutter
- Secure loose rugs
- Use rubber matts or other non-slip devices in bathtubs
- Do not allow children on fire escapes or other unsafe platforms
For more information, contact the brain injury attorneys at the Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA.