The effects of a brain injury can be far more devastating in a child than in an adult patient. This is because a child's brain is still developing until age 25. An injury sustained by a still-developing brain can stall or even completely stunt the brain's growth.
A recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stated that every year, approximately 62,000 American children ages 0-19 suffer from brain injuries that require hospitalization. These injuries are caused by car accidents, sports injuries, falls, physical abuse and other hazards for children. Additionally, 435,000 emergency room visits for traumatic brain injuries for children ages 0-14 are recorded each year, with 37,000 of these patients requiring hospital stays and 2,685 dying from their injuries. Traumatic brain injuries are the leading cause of death for children in the United States, with ages 0-4 and 15-19 the most at risk.
If your child suffers a head injury from any type of accident, get him or her to an emergency medical care center as soon as you can. Brain injuries can lead to lifelong blindness, hearing loss, physical impairments and lessened cognitive abilities. You can potentially prevent or lessen these effects by getting your child the medical care he or she needs.
Preventing Brain Injuries in Children
A recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine emphasized the importance of helmet use among children and adolescents to prevent head injuries. It also stressed parents' critical need to become educated about juvenile head injuries and their prevention.
For children under age 12, the most common cause of head injuries is falling from a bicycle. Talk to your child about the importance of wearing a helmet at all times when on a bicycle or any other wheeled sporting equipment, such as a skateboard or a pair of rollerblades. If your child plays football, make sure that he always wears the required protective gear. You can also encourage children to wear helmets and other protective gear by modeling this behavior when you ride a bicycle or motorcycle or participate in a contact sport. Another way you can protect your child is by fixing any slip and fall hazards around your property and making sure that every playground he or she visits is situated on shock-absorbing material such as mulch or sand, rather than concrete or asphalt.
Complications of Brain Injuries in Children
A childhood brain injury can cause a lifetime of disabilities and other ailments. Some of the issues that can stem from a brain injury include:
Loss of balance; Paralysis; Paresis; Speech impairment; Loss of hearing or vision; Seizures; Memory loss and trouble developing new memories; Headaches; Muscle spasms; and The loss of motor skills.
If your child suffers from any type of brain injury, he or she might be entitled to monetary compensation to cover the expenses incurred through his or her injury. In California, the statute of limitations for personal injuries is two years from the date of the injury, which means that a claim for monetary compensation must be filed within this time frame. If the victim was younger than 18 years old at the time of the accident, this time frame does not begin until his or her eighteenth birthday, giving the young adult until his or her twentieth birthday to seek compensation. This does not mean that you have to wait until your child's eighteenth birthday to file a claim for his or her injury, though. As a parent, you must file your child's personal injury claim on his or her behalf.
Monetary compensation for an injury can be used to cover any of the following:
Medical bills; Lifestyle adaptations such as disability services or help with mobility; Pain and suffering. This refers to the unquantifiable effects of an injury, such as scarring and bruising; Mental health services for depression and anxiety following an accident; and In the event of the child's death, the loss of companionship to his or her family.
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