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How can I protect my child from head injuries?

Christopher Giza, MD
Pediatrics
To protect your child from head injuries you should make sure that helmets worn during sports are properly fitted. They shouldn't be 10 years old and not refurbished. Helmets should be refurbished every couple of years as recommended in the guidelines. Don't forget sports that occur outside of the playing field. Riding bikes and skateboarding are popular with kids, and helmets are 85% effective in reducing traumatic brain injuries, but less than half of cyclists wear them. We tell kids to wear a "brain bucket" and wear it properly. Wear it so it covers the entire head and that it's properly fitted, not so that your forehead is sticking out or that it's so loose it falls off when you have an accident.
 
This content originally appeared online at UCLA Health.
 
Dr. Elif E. Oker, MD
Medical Toxicology

The best way to protect your child from head injury is prevention. Be sure to teach your child to wear a helmet when riding a bike, skate boarding, roller blading and skiing. Sports like hockey, football and baseball (batter, catcher) amongst others require helmets, particularly in young players. Children learning to ice skate should also wear helmets.

Preventing a blow to the head by wearing a helmet will go a long way to protect your child from a head injury.

Hands down, the head is the most important body part that your kids need to learn to protect. While most cuts, bruises and broken bones will heal, head injuries are often permanent and disabling. A blow to the head can lead to a loss of certain neurological functions and in serious cases, victims can lapse into a coma and die. Scary stuff.

You definitely want a helmet to take any hits instead of your child’s head. Helmets are the only piece of equipment that can protect against these risks. The thick plastic foam (firm polystyrene) inside the helmet cushions the head from the blow.

Wearing one can reduce the risk of head injury by as much as 85 percent and the risk of brain injury by as much as 88 percent.

From Good Kids, Bad Habits: The RealAge Guide to Raising Healthy Children by Jennifer Trachtenberg.

Good Kids, Bad Habits: The RealAge Guide to Raising Healthy Children

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.