Falls And Head Injury: Prevention
Head injuries are usually due to falls. Any injury to the scalp usually heals, but any damage to the brain can be permanent. Many serious head injuries can be prevented by taking the following precautions:
- When you drive, place your child in a car safety seat. When your child weighs 40 pounds or more, use a booster safety seat. Don't use the regular car seat and lap belt until your child weighs over 60 pounds. All states now have child- restraint laws and with good reason: They reduce injuries by 80 percent and deaths by 90 percent.
- Never leave an infant of any age alone on a high place like a bed, sofa, changing table or an exam table. If you take your hand off her, she may unexpectedly roll over for the first time or wiggle off and fall on her head. If the phone rings, take your baby with you.
- Don't buy a baby walker. They do not help your baby develop walking skills. 35% of infants using walkers have accidents requiring emergency care.
- Don't buy a bunk bed. If you already have one, keep children under age 6 out of the top bunk. This is the age group where most serious accidents occur.
- Keep doors leading to the basement or outdoors closed. Secure them with an extra latch above your child's reach. Place a sturdy gate at the top and bottom of stairways.
- If you live on an upper floor of a building, install window locks or guards. A window screen will not keep your child from falling out.
- To prevent pedestrian accidents, teach your child to look both ways before crossing and while crossing a street. Teach him to use crosswalks and not to run across the street. Most children don't have the judgment to safely cross the street alone until age 7 or 8.
- Don't teach your child how to ride a bicycle until your child is old enough to understand safety issues such as emergency stops and rules about right-of-way. That means age 7 or 8.
- Never allow your child to ride a bike unless he is wearing a bicycle helmet.
- Finally, forbid trampolines. Serious head and neck injuries have occurred, even with close supervision.
If you have other questions about head injuries, consult your healthcare provider.
Disclaimer: This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. It is provided for educational purposes only. You assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this information.
Author and Senior Reviewer: Barton D. Schmitt, M.D. FAAP
Last Review: 6/1/2008
Last Revised: 6/1/2000
Copyright 1994-2008 Barton Schmitt, M.D. Parent Advice Messages.