Child Concussions and Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI)
Breakstone, White & Gluck and our Project KidSafe campaign are committed to helping children and families protect against concussions and traumatic brain injuries. Your child’s brain is going to take them through life and is critical to their health and well-being. By learning to take essential precautions and recognize potential symptoms, you can help your children and teach them how to protect themselves.
Types of Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI)
- Traumatic Brain Injury
- Mild Traumatic Brain Injury (often referred to as a concussion)
- Post-Concussion Syndrome
Symptoms of Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI) and Concussions
The CDC advises families to look for these potential signs and symptoms of traumatic brain injuries and concussions:
Symptoms of TBI and Concussions
|Thinking/Remembering||Difficulty thinking clearly Feeling slowed down Difficulty concentrating Difficulty remembering new information|
|Physical||Loss of consciousness One pupil larger than the other Headache Blurry vision Dizziness Sensitivity to noise or light Balance problems Feeling tired, having no energy Slurred speech Vomiting/nausea|
|Emotional||Irritability Sadness More emotional Nervousness or anxiety|
|Sleep||Sleeping more or less than usual Trouble falling asleep. Source: CDC.|
Traumatic Brain Injuries: Symptoms in Children
Young children can suffer the same symptoms as adults and older children. But young children may also cry non-stop for long periods of time, resist food or stop eating. They may struggle with sleep. To learn more, visit the CDC Heads Up web page.
Prevention: Children’s Concussions and Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI)
Motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of TBI and it is important to follow safety fundamentals when you drive with your family. Car seats and seat belts are your first line of protection. Second, commit to setting aside distractions such as cell phones. Wait until you have stopped and are safely back home.
Third, help your teen driver. Take turns driving so you can observe their skills and they can learn from you. A lot of learning happens during the first few years of driving, starting with making responsible decisions.
Start an ongoing conversation about safe driving with these resources. Ask your teen driver to sign an agreement:
- Massachusetts Junior Operator Law
- Teen Driver Awareness Week
- AT&T IT Can Wait
- CDC Parent Teen Driving Agreement
Sports Concussions and TBI
Under this law, public high schools and middle schools affiliated with the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) must follow the same standard to protect students from concussions. A few points from the law:
- Everyone involved in school sports – coaches, nurses, teachers, students and parents – must participate in concussion awareness training. The goal is to better recognize when students show potential symptoms and act.
- Students with concussion symptoms must be removed from play until they receive written medical clearance. This clearance must come from a licensed physician, a licensed neuropsychologist, a certified trainer or other appropriately trained or licensed health care.
- There is a written form to go with each step of the process. Parents should ask for copies of all paperwork to help them understand the steps.
- Schools must document all head injuries across all sports. As a parent, you have the right to request this injury data.
Protect Your Family from Head Injuries – Always Wear a Helmet
Breakstone, White & Gluck encourages all cyclists to wear a bike helmet to protect against the risk of a head injury. Wearing a helmet is a simple habit. But to get the most protection, you must commit to wear your helmet every time you ride.
In Massachusetts, cyclists who are 16 and younger are required to wear bicycle helmets. If you are a parent, make sure your child wears a helmet (even when riding short distances). And wear one yourself. This will set a meaningful example for your child.
Massachusetts Helmet Laws for Children
Massachusetts Bicycle Helmet Law: Children 16 and younger are required to wear bicycle helmets when they ride bikes in Massachusetts, under M.G.L. c. 85, § 11B.
Massachusetts Scooter Helmet Law: Under M.G.L. c. 85, § 11B1/2B, children 16 and younger must also wear safety helmets on scooters, skateboards and inline skates, as well as other manually-propelled wheeled vehicles.
Helmets for Other Activities
Bicycle helmets are one way to protect your family. Learn more by reading the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s page, “Which Helmet for Which Activity?”
Breakstone, White & Gluck is a Boston personal injury law firm. We have over 100 years combined experience representing those injured by negligence in Massachusetts. We founded our Project KidSafe campaign in 2013 to raise awareness about preventing head injuries. We invite you to read more about our Project KidSafe campaign and our attorneys.
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