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Children's brain injuries: Prevention is key

A child should never have to deal with a serious injury, but all too often, one will. Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) can happen in a number of ways, from developing after a car crash to happening when a child falls on the playground. Children riding with their parents on a motorcycle or those hit while walking as pedestrians are all at risk of serious head injuries.

Traumatic brain injuries vary in severity, but the reality is that every TBI has its risks and symptoms. Children may lose some functions, become disoriented or feel weak. Headaches and seizures are possible. Depending on the severity of the injury, a surgery might be necessary to relieve pressure on the brain.

TBIs contribute to approximately 30 percent of all injury-related deaths. While not all blows to the head result in TBIs, the likelihood is high, especially for children.

Children face additional challenges. Since they're still growing and changing, injuries to the brain could significantly impact their physical and mental capabilities. The good news is that children are plastic, able to adjust to injuries and challenges better than adults in most cases.

The best thing you can do is aim to prevent a TBI in the first place. If you plan to take your child on a motorcycle, for instance, get a fitted motorcycle helmet. Start slow, and make sure your child knows how to hold on tight when you ride. There are sometimes adjustments you can make to seats on a motorcycle to make them safer for young riders, keeping them in the seats more securely.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "Traumatic Brain Injury & Concussion," accessed June 12, 2018

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