Safety Helmets and Seatbelts – Key to Protecting Children and Adolescents from Serious Brain Injury
The New England Journal of Medicine has published the most exhaustive analysis to date of brain injury in children and adolescents. The results reinforce the critical importance of safety helmets for children under 12 and the importance of safety helmets and seatbelts for adolescents.
The data analyzed in the study was from over 40,000 pediatric brain injuries. The most common cause of trauma in children under 12 was falls, often from bicycles. Motor vehicle accidents, sports injuries and assaults were the most frequent mechanisms of injury among adolescents.
Doctor Prashant Mahajan, one of the Wayne State Medical School researchers who conducted the analysis, said that “the lifesaving message contained in this study” is that prevention through helmets and seatbelts could dramatically change the outcomes for a substantial percentage of pediatric head traumas. “On several occasions,” he added, “I’ve treated injured children who had been protected by safety equipment and also injured children who have not been protected, during the same eight-hour shift in the emergency room. In most cases, the children who had the benefitted from wearing helmets or seatbelts sustained less severe injuries.”