A new study from the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control has found the incidence of tribes to the ER due to traumatic brain injury among children under 14 increased significantly from 2005 to 2013.
Researchers theorized that the increase in these injuries among children stems from kids spending more time on playgrounds (generally a good thing), and increased awareness among parents and educators about the symptoms and dangers of TBIs (also generally a good thing).
According to researchers involved in the study, and as reported by ABC News and others, 95% of these children were treated at hospitals and released without the need for further care. Many of the injuries, especially in the younger children, which made up about 50% of those in the study (ages five to nine), are believed to be the result of falling from monkey bars, slides, and falling while climbing.
However, it is important to stress two things: one, kids need exercise and as much outdoor time as possible; and two, the vast majority of individuals who do suffer head injuries, that do not involve serious trauma or fractures, recover without lasting damage.
So, parents and educators should seek out play surfaces for children that are soft and more forgiving in nature, such as foamed and matte surfaces or sand. And second, children should always be supervised by an adult who knows the signs and symptoms of a serious TBI – vomiting, loss of consciousness, sleep disturbances, emotional issues or sudden changes in behavior, lethargy, and irregular vision or hearing problems.
If you would like to read more about these injuries or the study sited above you can do so here.