It is very common for a young child to receive a bump on the head while at play, alone or with other children. It is also common for a youngster to receive a traumatic brain injury. It has been shown in studies that, by the age of 15, one out of every five children will experience some form of brain injury. The group with the greatest risk of traumatic brain injury is children four years of age and younger.
Every mother is familiar with the sound of a child bumping his or her head. Fortunately the crying that follows is usually quelled by a kiss to the bumped area. However, that bump on the head should never be taken lightly. Left untreated, a head injury that was assumed to be minor can become a detriment to the child’s future development and learning. Parents should learn the warning signs that may indicate something more serious.
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) can also occur to the infant during, or shortly after, childbirth, especially in complicated deliveries. Doctors and nurses may not recognize a problem or be aware of the signs of a brain injury. Cerebral palsy, the new parents worst nightmare, may not show symptoms until further growth and development. The severity and the resulting issues may also be widely varied.
Another cause of traumatic brain injury to the very young is known as shaken baby syndrome. This is a diffuse injury to the brain tissue that occurs from the brain striking the inside of the skull as the result of a violent back and forth motion. Unconsciousness usually occurs and often results in death. Those few infants that survive this horrific form of child abuse often face a lifetime of debilitation.
Recognizing the Warning Signs
Parents need to recognize the certain signs indicative of brain injury to young children.
Swelling of the forehead or scalp – Many parents think that a bump on the head is just part of growing up and a lesson for the child to be more careful. Even though cartoons and comedies make light of them, these bumps may indicate the presence of an underlying brain injury. Toddlers are the most likely to receive these injuries from falling, running into something hard or being struck by another child.
Recurring Headaches – A child who complains of frequent headaches or is seen holding his head as if in pain, may be showing signs of TBI.
Seizures – Following an injury, or as the result of a serious condition such as epilepsy, seizures may occur. A CT scan should be performed following any head injury.
Concussion – Sports related concussions have been a current news topic after reports of their long-term effects being studied by the NFL and other sports authorities. Concussions do not only occur from sports but can happen anywhere including the playground, school bus, bicycle, auto accident, child abuse and more. A physician should treat any child who is suspected of receiving a concussion immediately. This is critical, especially if they lost consciousness or experienced nausea, dizziness or confusion. A child with a concussion should not be allowed vigorous physical activity until cleared by a physician. A secondary concussion could be devastating or even fatal.
Ignoring the warning signs of traumatic brain injury can result in learning disability, impaired motor skills and personality changes.
Find the Best Help Available
Traumatic brain injury to infants, toddlers and young children can happen almost anywhere. It can occur during or shortly after birth, in the home, on the playground or even at school. Brain injuries may also be the result of negligence by medical personnel, teachers, baby sitters or anyone left in charge of the child. It is crucial that parents be constantly vigilant and alert to recognize the signs of child abuse or negligence. If your child shows signs of a traumatic brain injury, seek the best medical attention available. If you suspect the injury was caused by the negligence or carelessness of an individual or institution, contact an experienced brain injury attorney immediately. The long-term cost of medical treatments and rehabilitation can be astronomical and you may be entitled to compensation to cover those expenses. Most children with brain injuries can be helped through therapy and rehabilitation. Children respond better than adults in these situations. You should not have to bear the tremendous cost alone. Consult with a skilled brain injury attorney to discuss your options.
Vititoe Law Group is a personal injury law firm with attorneys who specialize in cases of traumatic brain injury. Call 818 – 991 – 8900 for a free consultation. No recovery, no fee.