With the warm weather here to stay, children of all ages will be out riding their bikes, scooters and skateboards. If your child owns something that has wheels, the chances are good that they might experience a fall related to it at some point. Be sure to take steps to provide your child with the proper protection to minimize any injury that may occur.
One of the best ways to avoid head injuries is to ensure your child is wearing a helmet. Children should wear a helmet when participating in activities that put them at risk for a head injury including riding a bicycle, scooter, or skateboard, roller skating or rollerblading, football, baseball, snowboarding, and skiing, just to name a few. However, in order to be effective, a helmet must fit properly. It should not be too loose, but should be snug and not overly tight. A properly fitted helmet should cover the temporal bones located both in front of and over the ear. If a helmet becomes damaged, it should be replaced immediately. If you need help properly fitting a helmet, safety checks are provided at the children’s hospital by appointment.
Teaching children how to prevent falls can also lead to fewer injuries. Additionally, educating children on how to fall and how to safely participate in their chosen activity can minimize risks, as well.
While it is important to wear a helmet to avoid skull fractures, a helmet does not always prevent a concussion. A concussion is a brain injury that occurs when a bump, blow, or jolt to the head is so powerful that the brain rotates or hits the skull. It is important to recognize the signs of a concussion which can include seeing stars, dizziness, mild amnesia, sensitivity to light or noise, or headache. If your child is experiencing any of these symptoms, contact your pediatrician.
If your child suffers a head injury, you should call 911 or seek immediate medical attention if you notice loss of consciousness, vomiting, unequal dilation of eyes, extreme confusion, seizures, severe or increasing head or neck pain, problems breathing, or bleeding or discharge from ears or nose. Any of these symptoms could indicate a medical emergency.
If your child sustains a concussion, do not panic. While a concussion can be serious, what you really want to avoid is repeat concussions or having another concussion too soon after the first one. If you think your child may have sustained a concussion or you have questions related to head injuries, please contact us for more information.