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Brain Injury Prevention

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.

The Brain Injury Association of America offers the following tips:

  • 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.
  • Know the right car safety seat to use for your growing child. Expand / Collapse

    Child Car Seat Safety Guidelines

    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.
  • Know the signs of intimate partner abuse. National Domestic Violence Hotline

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