March is Brain Injury Awareness Month

Model of a brain

Cropped image. Army Medicine, Flickr. CC License.

Concussion is a “hot topic” in the news, but did you know that a concussion is a traumatic brain injury? Traumatic brain injury, or TBI, can be classified anywhere from mild to severe and is often caused by a blow, bump or jolt to the head. There are many misconceptions about concussions, so to test your own (or your child’s) concussion knowledge, try taking this simple true and false quiz.

A concussion quiz for athletes, parents and coaches

How did you do? If either of you need a refresher, everything you need to know about concussion is on Beaumont’s neuroscience page. Don’t forget to watch the video; I make my acting debut!

You can reduce your risk for traumatic brain injuries. Here are 10 tips to get started:

  1. Prevent falls. Falls are the leading cause of TBI, accounting for about 32.5 percent. Safe Kids Worldwide offers some great tips on how to prevent childhood falls.
  1. Ensure your young children are properly secured and in the correct car seat. Recommendations have changed over the years based on research. To familiarize yourself with current recommendations, visit the CDC’s Child Passenger Safety page.

    Beaumont Children’s Hospital offers free car seat safety checks monthly (by appointment only). To have a certified child passenger safety technician check your car seat installation, click here for dates and information on how to make an appointment.

  1. Keep older kids in the rear seat until they are at least 13 years old. Did you know an airbag deploys at 140 mph? Airbags save lives but for younger kids, they can actually cause severe injury and even death.

    Also, never put a rear-facing car seat in front of an airbag. This video shows exactly what can happen to a rear-facing seat in the front. Bonus, you can show your tween how fast the airbag would come out at them if they give you any grief about riding in the back seat.

  1. As a parent, don’t drive distracted! Distracted driving includes alcohol, drugs (including medication that may make you sleepy), texting, talking on the phone, eating and applying makeup.
  1. Have your child always wear a helmet. In addition to sports such as football and hockey, also wear a helmet while bicycling, skateboarding, on scooters (these can hit a rock and flip your child over the handlebars), snow sports, horseback riding, snowmobiles and all-terrain vehicles. Kids often are in a hurry to be more “grown up”, so don’t forget to have the adults always wear a helmet as well!
  1. Anchor your furniture and televisions to the wall with furniture straps. One child dies every two weeks due to tip-overs in the home. Read this article for more information about furniture and television tip-overs.
  1. Never prop an infant seat on top of a shopping cart. According to a report published by The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), more than 20,000 kids under the age of five are seen in Emergency Departments each year with shopping-cart-related injuries. The majority of the children, 84 percent, suffer from head and brain injuries. Read more about shopping cart injuries here.
  1. Show your kids the safe way to enter water. Brain and spinal cord injuries occur when diving into shallow or water with an unknown depth. Even far from shore in open water, there could be a large rock or sandbar that’s unknowingly close to the surface. The safest way to enter water is feet first!

    Remember that even simple water play can be dangerous and that it takes less than five minutes to drown. Heading to open water? Brush up on these additional open-water safety tips.

  1. Inspect playground equipment before use. More than 200,000 children are injured on America’s playgrounds each year. That’s one child injured every 2½ minutes! This article has more tips on how to give the playground a “once over” so you can relax and watch your kids play.Additionally the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has a specific policy that advises pediatricians to discourage the use of recreational trampolines. The report shows that head and neck injuries account for approximately 10–17 percent of all trampoline-related injuries.
  1. Have your athletes take a baseline concussion screening before they are injured. Beaumont’s Concussion Health Awareness and Management Program (CHAMP) offers both pre- and post-concussion screenings for athletes and other individuals age 13 and older through ImPACT (Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing). It’s important to have a baseline screening on file, so health care providers can determine the best concussion treatment plan.

– Erica Surman, RN, BSN, Pediatric Trauma Program Manager, Beaumont Health System

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