Study Says Most Traumatic Brain Injuries in Kids Connected to Common Products

Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are among the worst injuries that people can suffer. TBIs can cause permanent impairment and in the most severe cases death. TBIs are especially devastating and tragic when they involve children.

A recent study concluded that TBIs in children and teenagers in the United States are most often linked to common consumer children playing in a yardproducts such as floors and furniture, as well as various sports activities.

In fact, the researchers found that about 72% of emergency department visits involving children with TBI’s can be attributed to common household products.

Floors, Beds, Stairs and Other Common Objects Attributed to Traumatic Brain Injuries in Children

According to the study, these are the top ten items, as well as activities, that contribute to nonfatal traumatic brain injuries in children under the age of 19:

  • Floors
  • Beds
  • Football
  • Stairs
  • Bicycles
  • Basketball
  • Ceilings and walls
  • Chairs
  • Soccer
  • Tables

Some other consumer products that the researchers linked to nonfatal TBIs in children include:

  • Doors
  • Playground equipment, including monkey bars and swings
  • Skateboards
  • Baby strollers
  • Baby changing tables
  • High chairs
  • Grocery and shopping carts

Companies that manufacture, distribute, market and sell dangerous and defective products can be held liable when those products cause injury.

Statistics Related to Traumatic Brain Injuries in Children

The above study also reported that children and teenagers accounted for 4.1 million nonfatal TBI-related emergency department visits from 2010 to 2013. TBIs caused by furniture, mainly beds, were highest among infants and very young children in the one to four year old range. However, TBIs caused by sports and recreational activities, especially biking and football, commonly occurred in older children and teenagers. The main product groups identified in the study as contributing to TBIs in children are:

  • Sports/recreation (29%)
  • Home furnishings and fixtures (17%)
  • Home structures and construction materials (17%)
  • Child nursery equipment (3%)
  • Toys (2%)

The study looked at data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System–All Injury Program (NEISS-AIP), as well as product information from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS), for the years 2010 through 2013.

Here are some other facts about TBIs as cited in the study:

  • Approximately 1.7 million TBIs occur in the United States each year.
  • TBIs contribute to approximately one in three of all injury deaths, one in ten injury-related emergency department visits, and one in five injury-related hospitalizations.
  • The primary “mechanisms” of nonfatal TBIs in children are falls, motor vehicle accidents, collisions with a moving or stationary object, and assaults.
  • Non-fatal TBIs in children that are treated in emergency departments result in about $8 billion in medical and work loss costs.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported that there were 56,800 TBI-related deaths in the United States in 2014. That number includes the deaths of more than 2,500 children.

The Serious Impact of Traumatic Brain Injuries on Children

According to the Mayo Clinic, a TBI is a brain injury that’s typically caused by a blow or jolt to the head, or sometimes to the body. While a mild TBI can temporarily affect a person’s brain cells, a more severe TBI can cause bruising, bleeding and other damage to the brain and result in long-term health problems and death.

Symptoms sometimes appear immediately after the traumatic event, or in other cases, weeks or even months later, the medical center said. Symptoms are numerous and include loss of consciousness, headaches, nausea, vomiting, seizures and slurred speech. In children, TBIs can appear as a change in eating or nursing habits, irritability, depressed mood, change in sleep habits, drowsiness and a loss of interest in favorite things.

Children who have sustained a blow to the head should be seen by a doctor, especially if they show signs or symptoms of a TBI.

Children with nonfatal TBIs often suffer neurological problems that can affect their educational performance and memory. And children with brain injuries often develop emotional and behavioral problems that can interfere with their interpersonal relationships and social functioning. TBIs not only impact the child but also the child’s family. In severe cases, children with brain injuries might need care for the rest of their lives.

The impact of a TBI on a child varies with age. According to researchers, younger children are more likely to develop behavioral problems. In its 2018 report to Congress on The Management of Traumatic Brain Injuries in Children, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said more than 61% of children with TBIs in the moderate to severe range, experience some type of disability compared to 14% of children with mild TBIs. The CDC stated that we don’t fully understand how childhood TBIs affect children as they age and hit adult milestones such as high school graduation and employment.

Steps Parents Can Take to Prevent Traumatic Brain Injuries in Children

Brain injuries in children are almost always unintentional and many are preventable.

The researchers suggested that parents and caregivers take the following steps to prevent TBIs:

  • Remove tripping hazards such as area rugs
  • Improve household lighting
  • Avoid playgrounds with hard surfaces and opt for playgrounds with wood chip, sand or mulch surfaces
  • Enforce playground safety rules
  • Use home safety devices such as stair gates and guardrails
  • Enforce helmet use and proper use of safety gear during sports play
  • Supervise children while they are playing sports

Because children can sustain TBIs in car accidents, they should always be properly placed in car seats and booster seats and wear seatbelts when they are old enough.

In addition, the CDC has reported that boys are more likely to sustain TBIs caused by playground equipment than girls and that most children treated for playground-related TBIs are between the ages of 5 and 9.

To learn more about how the product liability lawyers at The Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman, LLC can help you with a traumatic brain injury or other personal injury claim, contact our law firm today at (617) 367-2900 or use our online form.

 

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