March is Brain Injury Awareness Month
Traumatic brain injury means an acquired injury to the brain caused by an external physical force or by an internal occurrence resulting in total or partial functional disability and/or psychosocial impairment that adversely affects a child’s educational performance. Causes may include but are not limited to, open or closed head injuries, cerebrovascular accidents (e.g., stroke, aneurysm), infection, kidney or heart failure, electric shock, anoxia, tumors, metabolic disorders, toxic substances, or medical or surgical treatments. The brain injury can occur in a single event or can result from a serious of events (e.g., multiple concussions). Traumatic brain injury also can occur with or without a loss of consciousness at the time of injury. Traumatic brain injury may result in impairment in one or more areas, such as cognition; language; memory; attention; reasoning; abstract thinking; judgment; problem-solving; sensory, perceptual, and motor abilities; psychosocial behavior; physical functions; information processing; and speech. Traumatic brain injury does not apply to brain injuries that are congenital or degenerative, but can include brain injuries induced by birth trauma.
Traumatic Brain Injury Prevention
Falls and motor vehicle crashes are the most common causes of brain injury in school-age children. However, participation in sports frequently results in brain injury, primarily concussion. Below are a few ways to reduce the chances that you or your child will sustain a brain injury or concussion.
In a vehicle:
• Ensure your child wears seatbelt when driving (teens) or riding in a motor vehicle.
• At all times, use a car seat or booster for children less than 8 years old.
• Never drive or ride with someone under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
• Install window guards to keep young children from falling out of open windows.
• Use safety gates at the top and bottom of stairs.
• Keep stairs clear of clutter.
• Secure rugs and use rubber mats in bathtubs and never leave child unattended.
During play or sports:
• Wear a helmet when riding any kind of bike, scooter, skateboard or all-terrain vehicle.
• During athletic games and practices, make sure your child uses correct protective equipment and follows safety rules of sport.
• Do not return to play with a known or suspected concussion until you have been evaluated and given permission by an appropriate health care professional.
• Make sure the surface on your child’s playground is appropriate and maintained.
• Use hand signals so drivers and other bike riders can anticipate their actions and avoid collision.
• Wear shoes that prevent slippage and protect the feet
• Wear light or brightly colored clothing that is fitted but not so tight that it would affect the ability to move the body and turn the head easily. Be sure clothing, eyewear, and hair do not obstruct vision and do not have hanging cords or ties.
• Ensure that the bike is the right size, has working brakes and chain, and has handlebars and seat at the correct height and fastened tightly. Reflectors and lights are needed for riding in low-light situations, and a mirror is helpful for checking traffic behind them.
• Check traffic behind them before riding around an object or making a turn.
• Always ride single file when riding with others.
• Keep ears free of ear buds or headsets that prevent them from hearing traffic or voices.
• Never use a phone when riding.
• Avoid riding close to parked cars, as it is difficult to tell if someone is in a car, ready to open the door or pull away from the curb.
• Call out “on your left” before passing someone on the left. Slow down when near other riders or pedestrians and yield to others when appropriate.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Centers for Disease Control and Prevention www.childrensnational.org/files/PDF
North Carolina Department of Instruction Policies Governing Services for Children With Disabilities - Amended October 2013
For more information on bicycle helmets and safety visit: http://www.helmetsonheads.org/
To request a free helmet from the NCDOT website: http://www.ncdot.gov/bikeped/safetyeducation/helmet_initiative/