Injury to the brain can happen in a split second, with symptoms lasting anywhere from a few minutes to a lifetime. Most brain injuries can be prevented by practicing some common prevention and safety techniques.
Always wear a bike helmet. Be a good example to your children. Biking incidents most often occur within five blocks of home.
Brain injuries occur during a fall when the head hits the ground. All skaters, skateboarders, scooter riders, horseback riders, and other extreme sports athletes should wear appropriate helmets.
Brain injury is the leading cause of death among children hit by cars. Always stop at the curb; wait for the bus at a safe place off of the road; walk facing traffic when there is no sidewalk; wear reflective clothing at night.
Falls are the number one cause of brain injuries in all age groups. Check playground surfaces- look for loose surfaces including mulch, pea gravel, crushed stone; keep bathroom and kitchen floors dry; secure ladders before climbing; keep stairway well lit; secure throw rugs; remove or secure extension cords that cross walkways in the home.
Concussions are the most common consequence of brain injury in contact sports. Make sure coaches know correct procedures for grading a possible concussion and have guidelines for removing a child from play.
Children and adults are less likely to die or be severely injured in a crash when wearing a seatbelt. Children learn from parents, so always buckle up. Virginia has laws regarding safety belt use.
The American Academy of Pediatrics provides the following recommendations to optimize safety in passenger vehicles:
All infants and toddlers should ride in a rear-facing car safety seat (CSS) until they are 2 years of age or until they reach the highest weight or height allowed by the manufacturer of their CSS (car safety seat).
All children 2 years or older, or those younger than 2 years who have outgrown the rear-facing weight or height limit for their CSS, should use a forward-facing CSS with a harness for as long as possible, up to the highest weight or height allowed by the manufacturer of their CSS.
All children whose weight or height is above the forward-facing limit for their CSS should use a belt positioning booster seat until the vehicle lap-and-shoulder seat belt fits properly, typically when they have reached 4 feet 9 inches in height and are between 8 and 12 years of age.
When children are old enough and large enough to use the vehicle seat belt alone, they should always use lap-and-shoulder seat belts for optimal protection.
All children younger than 13 years should be restrained in the rear seats of vehicles for optimal protection.
Keep firearms locked up and store bullets separately.