Tampa Bay Brain Injury And Children
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is the leading cause of disability and death in children and adolescents in the U.S. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the two age groups at greatest risk for TBI are age 0-4 and 15-19.
Among those ages 0 to 19, each year an average of:
- 62,000 children sustain brain injuries requiring hospitalization as a result of motor vehicle crashes, falls, sports injuries and other causes.
- 564,000 children are seen in hospital emergency departments for TBI and released.
Among children ages 0 to 14 years, TBI results in an estimated in:
- 2,685 deaths
- 37,000 hospitalizations
- 435,000 emergency department visits.
Symptoms of TBI in Pinellas County Children
A child or adolescent who has sustained a traumatic brain injury can suffer from a variety of symptoms including:
- Problems with speech, vision or hearing
- Short-term memory deficits
- Mood swings
- Motor coordination problems
- Depression or anxiety
How is TBI in Children Compared to TBI in Tampa Bay Adults?
While the symptoms of a brain injury in Pinellas County children are similar to the symptoms experienced by adults, the functional impact can be very different. Children are not little adults. The brain of a child is continuing to develop. The assumption used to be a child with a brain injury would recover better than an adult because there was more “plasticity” in a younger brain. More recent research has shown that this is not the case. A brain injury actually has a more devastating impact on a child than an injury of the same severity has on a mature adult. The cognitive impairments of children may not be immediately obvious after the injury but may become apparent as the child gets older and faces increased cognitive and social expectations for new learning and more complex, socially appropriate behavior. These delayed effects can create lifetime challenges for children. Some children may have lifelong physical challenges. However, the greatest challenges many children with brain injury face are changes in their abilities to think and learn and to develop socially appropriate behaviors.
Common deficits after brain injury include difficulty in processing information, impaired judgment, and reasoning. When an adult is injured, these deficits can become apparent in the months following the injury. For a child, it may be years before the deficits from the injury become apparent.
Prevention of TBI in Children
To reduce the risk of children sustaining a TBI parents, teachers, and other individuals should make sure that children:
- Wear a seat belt every time they ride in a motor vehicle.
- Are buckled into the car using a child safety seat, booster seat, or seat belt according to the child’s height, weight, and age. Children should start using a booster seat when they outgrow their child safety seats, usually when they weigh about 40 pounds. Children should continue to ride in a booster seat until the lap/shoulder belts in the car fit properly, typically when they are approximately 4’9″ tall.
- Wear helmets that are fitted properly.
- Use the right protective sports equipment and make sure it is maintaine
Returning to School After a TBI
Although TBI is very common, many medical and education professionals may not realize the difficulties that can be caused by a childhood brain injury. Often students with TBI are thought to have a learning disability, emotional disturbance, or an intellectual disability. As a result, they don’t receive the type of educational help and support they really need.
When children with TBI return to school, their educational and emotional needs are often very different than before the injury. Their disability has happened suddenly and traumatically and sometimes that cannot remember how they were before the brain injury. This can bring on many emotional and social changes. For all of these reasons
it is extremely important to plan carefully for the child’s return to school, speaking to the child’s teacher, principal and special education staff where appropriate.
Contact a Tampa Bay Brain Injury Attorney
If a child in your life has sustained a brain injury from an auto or another type of accident, it is important to speak to an experienced Tampa Bay brain injury lawyer. At the Dolman Law Group in Clearwater, Florida, our team of highly skilled brain injury lawyers has helped many victims obtain the recovery they deserve for their injuries and related losses including lost wages, medical expenses as well as pain and suffering. Please call our office at 727-451-6900 today.
Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 3375