Head injuries are not something to take lightly. The CDC estimates that close to 2 million people in the country sustain a traumatic brain injury every year, and these injuries contribute to one third of all injury-related deaths in the United States.
Children, especially those between the ages of 0 and 4 and ages 15 through 19, are the most likely to sustain serious brain injuries. This is why education about the dangers of head injuries is so important. Because of the long-term effects that head injuries can have, parents should learn all they can about this common adolescent injury.
Protective Helmets and Other Safety Devices are Essential
Head injuries often occur while children are playing or involved in some activity. Falls on the sports field, tumbles while riding a bike and trips while climbing outdoors are all common causes. For this reason, children should wear protective helmets whenever possible.
Parents need to make sure that helmets are being used when their children participate in rough sports events or when riding wheeled toys, such as bikes, scooters and roller skates. Head injuries also occur as a result of car accidents, especially when children are not properly restrained. Proper use of child safety seats can help protectchildren against serious brain injury in a car accident.
Varying Treatment Based on Race?
Though head injuries affect all children, a recent Reuters article mentioned the findings of a study published in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine showing that the treatment for such injuries may not be uniform across different ethnic backgrounds. Researchers looked at brain injuries and treatment of children and discovered differences based on the race of the injured child.
According to the research, Caucasian children get CT scans more often following minor head injuries than children of other races. The study found that 42 percent of Caucasian children brought in for minor head trauma received CT scans while only 28 percent of African American and Hispanic children brought in for minor head trauma received the same type of scan.
Some may think this means that hospitals are giving better treatment to Caucasian children. However, the results indicate that unnecessary CT scans can actually be dangerous to the children receiving them. In this case, more treatment may not be better treatment and can actually lead to medical mistakes and dangerous radiation risks.
What's the Reason for the Gap?
Researchers are not sure, but think that parental anxiety levels play a role in the rate of CT scans given to children. Such anxiety is understandable given that what makes head injuries so scary is the fact that you cannot see what is going on inside your child’s head.