The injuries inflicted on a child during a car accident can have lifelong consequences. With head trauma and brain injuries, sometimes these consequences will not be apparent until later in a child’s life. Head injuries are the most common injury that children suffer from in car accidents.
In a study conducted by the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in 2010, they reported that children under the age of one are at a much higher risk of sustaining head injuries in car accidents than other children. The most common form of head injuries in children under the age of one is concussions and unconsciousness. It was also reported in the study that older children (over the age of one) were more likely to suffer from skull fractures.
For all age groups studied, head injuries were the most common injuries to occur in car accidents for children aged seven and under. Children under the age of one had a higher incidence rate at 70% compared to children aged 1 to 3 at 51% and children aged 4 to 7 at 39%.
These incidence rates regardless of age group are quite high, and the statistics bring to light the fact that pediatric head and brain injuries due to car accidents is a very common and very serious matter.
Traumatic Brain Injury and its Long Term Effects
Traumatic brain injuries are very complicated and hard to diagnose in children as their brains are still developing. Due to the brain’s developing during this stage, any head injuries a child sustains may have impacts that will not be clear until later on, once the brain has fully developed. During this developing stage, any damage caused to the brain can result in developmental issues or neuropsychological problems that may appear later in life.
Specific areas of the brain control specific functions in our bodies, and some regions of the brain develop later than others. Thus, if a region is damaged before fully developing, injuries sustained in that area will affect the functions that brain area is responsible for. For example, the frontal lobe is a late developing region that controls personality and social skills. If this area is damaged early in life, it will shape how the child functions socially and effects will not be noticed until later in life when the frontal lobe has fully formed.
How Head and Brain Injuries Can Be Prevented
Although there is no specific formula for preventing a head injury from occurring, there are ways that parents can help protect their children from sustaining serious injuries. Restraining devices should be used in all vehicles for children of all ages. Vehicles should be driven safely with all attention on the road.
Parents must ensure that they are not distracted by their child or by any other actions such as talking on the cell phone. If a car accident occurs, a child must be properly checked by a medical physician, no matter how minor the injury may seem. Delaying medical attention can cause greater damage to the child. With head and brain injuries, a child must be monitored very carefully after the accident, as effects can be delayed.
Some helpful resources for child brain injury:
Hat tip to Personal Injury Lawyer, John Yannone for his support