Protecting Children from Concussions
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 4 million people, many of them children, get concussions each year. Children may be especially prone to concussion while participating in sporting activities. Concussions are a type of traumatic brain injury and can have a long-term impact on the health of your child. It’s important to know what programs are in place to keep your child safe after a head injury. Below is basic information for preventing and treating concussions.
Symptoms of Concussions
If your child exhibits any of these symptoms, he or she should be taken to an emergency room:
- Loss of consciousness
- Severe headache, including a headache that gets worse
- Blurred vision
- Confusion or slurred speech
- Unresponsiveness or difficulty waking up
Call your doctor to report other symptoms:
- Trouble concentrating
Safety gear and other simple prevention steps can help prevent your child from getting a concussion. All children should wear properly fitting headgear and other protective equipment when playing sports or biking.
Keep heavy, high-standing objects in your home out of the reach of children to prevent the object from falling and causing a head injury. Also, car seats and seat belts should always be used by children in vehicles to prevent head injuries in the case of a car accident.
Treating Concussions at Home
Every concussion is unique, and symptoms can vary widely. Treatment depends on a child’s particular condition. Many concussions don’t require hospitalization, so it’s important to know how to treat your child at home.
For the first 72 hours after a concussion, your child may still be at risk of complications, so monitor his or her symptoms. However, it isn’t necessary to wake a sleeping child to check symptoms.
While symptoms are still present, be sure that your child doesn’t engage in physical or mental activity that could worsen his or her symptoms. This includes sports, schoolwork, television, electronic devices or anything else besides basic activities involved in day-to-day life.
Children can return to these activities if they do not make symptoms worse, but they should rest if symptoms begin to return.
If your child has a headache that worsens quickly, or he or she has lingering symptoms such as confusion or continued vomiting, call your doctor immediately.
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