Reports of traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) among adults, particularly in professional sports, are often in the news. But what about TBIs among children and youth? In 2012, an estimated 329,290 children (age 19 or younger) were treated in emergency departments (EDs) for sports and recreation-related injuries that included a diagnosis of concussion or TBI. From 2001 to 2012, the rate of ED visits for sports and recreation-related injuries with a diagnosis of concussion or TBI, alone or in combination with other injuries, more than doubled among children (age 19 or younger).
Definition: A fall is an unplanned and sudden descent to the ground, the floor, or a lower level that may result in injury. Falls in children are often due to the presence of external hazards, such as stairs, open windows, or playground equipment, and to children’s frequent inability to accurately assess risks, curiosity and propensity for risk-taking, and lack of fully developed motor skills and coordination.
Magnitude of the Problem: Falls are the leading cause of hospitalized injury in the U.S. for children ages 0 to 14. In 2012, nearly 34,000 children ages 0 to 14 were hospitalized for unintentional falls (National Inpatient Sample, 2012, Healthcare Utilization Project, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality). According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Protect the Ones You Love campaign, falls are the leading cause of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) for children ages 0 to 4.
Prevention: Strategies to protect children from fall-related injuries include:
- Installing safety gates on stairs and guards on windows to prevent falls by young children;
- Providing a soft landing surface below playground equipment;
- Using the proper safety equipment, such as knee pads, elbow pads, wrist guards, and helmets, while playing sports;
- Supervising children near fall hazards; and
- Removing fall hazards whenever possible.
In 2015, injuries caused 13,363 deaths in U.S. children and adolescents aged 0-19. In addition, injuries were responsible for 200,225 hospitalizations and almost 7.7 million emergency department (ED) visits in this population (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], WISQARS, 2017). One important way to understand the burden of childhood injuries is by looking at the costs of those injuries.