Child Head Injury Statistics
Many of us have vivid recollections of the childhood injuries we suffered. We may remember how a broken arm from falling off a swing set kept us from swimming all summer, or the way it felt when we got the wind knocked out of us and bruised our ribs while playing after school sports. While these memories stick with us and the discomfort we felt at the time may have been intense, the fact is that most people recover from childhood injuries and go on to live normal, healthy, productive lives. Unfortunately, when the injury in question involves the head or brain, this is not always the case. Among the most heartbreaking and serious types of personal injury cases our office handles, childhood brain injuries can cause severe harm, are potentially fatal, and can result in lifelong disabilities.
Head Injury Causes
According to statistics on childhood head injuries from the Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA), 564,000 children each year are seen in hospital emergency rooms as the result of these injuries, while as many as 62,000 require hospitalization. Head injuries can occur as the result of any type of bump, blow, or jolt to the head. The resulting damage can affect the bones in the skull as well as the brain, resulting in traumatic brain injury (TBI), one of the leading causes of death and disability for both children and adults. The BIAA lists the following as among the leading causes of brain injury among children in the U.S.:
- Motor vehicle accidents: While speed is often a factor in car accident-related TBI, even a seemingly minor fender bender can result in serious harm for your child.
- Pedestrian and bicycling accidents: Children need to be particularly careful when riding bikes or walking to and from school and crossing busy streets and intersections, where accidents and injuries are most likely to occur.
- Playground equipment: Falls from swings and climbing equipment as well as being struck by or against objects present serious risks for children in both school and neighborhood parks and playgrounds.
- Recreational activities: Activities such as swimming, diving, and skateboarding can all result in serious head injuries, both as the result of bumps and blows, as well as due to lack of oxygen.
- Physical violence: Head injuries can occur as the result of abuse at the hands of a caregiver, or due to school bullying and violent assaults.
- Sports related trauma: While recreational and school-related sports can teach children valuable lessons about teamwork and physical fitness, they are also one of the leading causes of childhood head injuries.
The BIAA states that, in addition to the above causes, head injuries in children can also occur as the result of medical mistakes and errors. In infants, forced extraction methods during delivery, such as the use of suction or forceps, can deprive your child’s brain of oxygen, causing permanent and irreparable harm.
Symptoms of Head Injury and TBI
While some childhood head injuries are immediately obvious, others can be subtle, with symptoms that are hard to notice and take days or even weeks to appear. As many as half a million children under the age of 14 suffer serious head injuries each year in the U.S., requiring medical care. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), among the most common symptoms of head and brain injuries that parents should be alert for include:
- Nausea and vomiting;
- Difficulty remembering the accident or how the injury occurred;
- Feeling lightheaded or dizzy;
- Severe headaches and light sensitivity;
- Loss of consciousness;
- Problems understanding or forming words;
- Difficulty walking or maintaining a steady gait;
- Sleep disturbances;
- Emotional outbursts, including fits of anger and depression;
- Feeling excessively nervous or agitated.
Anytime a head injury is suspected, seek medical attention immediately. In severe cases, these injuries can be life threatening, involving swelling of the brain, the formation of blood clots, and internal bleeding. According to the CDC, roughly 37,000 children require hospitalization due to TBI each year, while close to 2,700 die as the result of their injuries.
Fall Prevention Tips For Children Of All Ages
Taking the steps necessary to avoid falls both in your home and when out in public is an important step in protecting your child against serious injuries. As our childhood head injury infographic shows, unintentional falls are the number one cause of injury among children. Follow these tips to help ensure your children are protected:
For Children One to Four Years
- Never leave children unattended on high porches, decks, or balconies;
- Use baby gates to block off stairways in your home;
- Make sure hallways are free of clutter;
- Secure and supervise children in high chairs and walkers;
- When changing your child, place them on the floor rather than on tables or other furniture, where the child could easily roll off and get injured.
For Children Five to Nine
- Continue to use caution with children on high porches and decks;
- Do not allow your children to jump or climb on furniture;
- Use anchors and wall strips to secure televisions and shelving units;
- Use anti-slip rugs in your home, and mats or decals in your shower and bath;
- Supervise your child closely at playgrounds, and choose places with ground cover made of soft materials in case of falls.
For Children Ten and Over
- Make sure they wear a helmet when skateboarding or riding bikes;
- Use the appropriate safety equipment for sports and recreational activities;
- Teach them to look left, then right, then left again before crossing the street;
- Encourage them to use crosswalks when possible;
- Speak to them about bullying, and discourage rough play.
Who Knew a Head Injury Could be a Good Thing?
A comment-provoking story came out of Fairland, Indiana yesterday about a boy who was struck in the head while playing games and taken to a hospital where a tumor had been found in his head. According to the story, Jacob – a 9-year-old was hit on the head while playing kickball. Days later he began to have severe headaches and vomiting, that’s when his parents took him to the hospital.
Doctors said there was no trauma from the head injury itself, and explained what they had discovered – a golf ball-sized tumor in the brain. The mass has been removed from the child’s brain and he is expected to recover. Looking through the Facebook comments on the story – people were showing a lot of support for the child and the family saying things like “Best wishes and good luck to you little guy,” and “Bless his heart. May he have a speedy recovery.”
“Had he not got hit with that kickball, who knows what would have happened,” stated Jacob’s doctors.
This story is just one of few about people who get minor injuries and discover life-threatening ones in the process of being checked out by a doctor. Having read this, reminded me of a very important tip injury victims should keep in mind. After an accident, always see a doctor, especially if you have symptoms of an injury.
Every personal injury attorney out there will tell you the same thing – and for a good reason. Avoiding seeing a doctor can be dangerous for your own well-being as well as for your claim down the road. From a legal point of view, at the attorney’s job becomes more difficult to show that his/her client’s injury is directly related to the accident when the client avoids going to the doctor.
Insurance companies like to jump at the opportunity to deny claims saying that the injury is in no way related to the accident. This may seem like no big deal when injuries are minor and require little or no treatment, but when the medical bills begin to mount up later in life – when the injury becomes more prevalent, you may be out of luck. This is why injury attorneys stress the point of seeing a doctor right away. In fact, when you contact an attorney, chances are the first thing they will ask you to do after explaining your situation is to go to the doctor if you haven’t already.
Our Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorneys Can Help
If your child has suffered a head injury, either in an accident or due to someone’s reckless or negligent conduct, contact our Los Angeles personal injury attorneys right away. At Fisher & Talwar, we understand the serious impacts a childhood head injury can have on your child’s health and wellbeing, both now and in the future. We provide the professional legal representation you need to hold responsible parties accountable, while assisting you in getting the compensation your child needs to recover. We serve Los Angeles and the surrounding area; call or contact our office online today to request a free case consultation.