Brain injuries can have serious impacts for people of all ages, but for children, they can be especially devastating. Because children’s brains are still developing, the implications of a brain injury can be more severe. If you think your child has suffered a brain injury, getting emergency care at a children’s hospital as soon as possible is critical. Here is what you need to know about brain injuries in kids and the potential long-term impacts for development.
How common are brain injuries in kids?
Children face a serious risk of brain injuries. These injuries are the leading cause of death and disability for children and teens in the US , with the age groups of 0-4 and 15-19 being most at risk. Approximately 62,000 kids between birth to age 19 are diagnosed with a brain injury annually, while 564,000 seek emergency care for potential brain injuries.
Car accidents, sports injuries, and falls are the most common causes of brain injuries in kids. Physical abuse also plays a role in the prevalence of brain injuries in kids.
How is development affected after a brain injury?
It is difficult to predict exactly how a brain injury will affect a child. Several factors can influence the kinds of impacts an injury causes, including:
- Which part of the brain is injured
- Cause of the injury
- Severity of the injury
Often, the impacts of a brain injury are not immediately apparent and can take years to appear. Some of the developmental impairments that can occur affect:
- Concentration/attention span
- Communication skills
- Motor coordination
- Sensory issues (such as visual or hearing impairments)
- Reading skills
- Socially appropriate behavior
Can developmental impacts be prevented?
Although developmental impacts can be hard to prevent after a brain injury, since there is no clear way to determine how an injury will affect a child, there are things parents can do to mitigate the risk and limit the severity of developmental issues:
- Get emergency treatment as soon as possible after an injury
- Participate in ongoing therapeutic treatment
- Arrange support for developmental issues, such as classroom help and therapy
The children’s emergency room in Las Vegas at Sunrise Children’s Hospital is equipped to provide fast diagnosis and critical care to kids facing brain injuries. To learn more about all of our pediatrics services, please call (702) 233-5437.