How Traumatic Brain Injuries Affect Children

Thousands of children suffer from head injuries each year. They might bump their heads onto a wall or fell off their bike. Many of these events are minor, and the kids can get on their way healthy. In some cases, they result in a traumatic brain injury (TBI).

How Serious Is TBI among Children?

Also known as pediatric TBI, it is a non-degenerative brain condition among children between 1 and 21 years old. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), head injuries account for over 600,000 emergency department visits of children each year. Most are immediately treatable, such as abrasions or contusions to the scalp and face. However, it’s also the leading cause of death or disability among those with severe cases. In the United States, there are about 3,000 of these annually.

A child can sustain a brain injury for a number of reasons. Some primary reasons are criminal such as homicide or assault. It can also be accidental, such as when they fall off their bunk bed or their bicycle.

Road traffic, however, remains the top cause of injuries and even death. According to the World Health Organization, it is responsible for most deaths of children between 10 and 19 years old. When they are on the road, they are more likely to sustain vehicle-related brain injuries when they are cycling or riding a motorcycle.

States with the highest populations and the busiest cities such as California often have the most significant vehicle collision injury rates among children.

The Issue with Pediatric TBI

The accident itself is not the only problem when it comes to pediatric TBI. The more significant challenge is the manifestation of symptoms.

The signs of TBI between adults and children are similar; but due to physiological differences, it’s possible the latter might exhibit them much later. They can also be more prone to internal bleeding as the young scalp still has many blood vessels.

The healthcare costs associated with pediatric TBI demand a brain injury lawyer in Los Angeles who can help parents claim damages on behalf of their child from someone responsible for the injury. But that’s not the only reason. The risks, it turns out, can extend for many years. Children with TBI tend to be susceptible to mental disorders, particularly depression. An AAP study in 2018 revealed these issues could appear up to five years since the event.

Head scan

A 2019 study in the Lancet Psychiatry, meanwhile, suggested that the possibility of developing recurrent depression might be due to structural changes in the brain. Worse, it’s still possible for a child to experience the negative long-term impact of TBI even if the injury is mild or moderate.

In his presentation in 2017, Dr. Brad Kurowski revealed that these types of head injuries could increase the risk of attention problems up to two times. People with serious injuries are five times more likely to have secondary attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

No amount of money can ever console a parent whose child is now prone to mental or neurological disorders later in life due to a vehicle accident that resulted in a TBI. But it can be helpful and even necessary to ensure that they can provide the best care as the child grows up.

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