Recently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a report to Congress detailing the impact of traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) on children and their families. Identifying gaps in health care coverage for young victims, solutions for management, research to support long-term monitoring, and a wealth of other information within the report all offered a startling but clear examination on the importance of caring for young children who have suffered from a TBI.
At the Cardone Law Firm, we have been protecting families and their loved ones who have suffered from a traumatic brain injury for years. These types of injuries can easily occur in a car accident, sports accident, workplace accident, or any other variety of scenarios resulting from another party’s negligence. We understand how much of an effect it can have on a victim’s health, thinking, and behavior, and it is important that families obtain the compensation they deserve to help with the recovery process.
We’d like to share with you some of the stand out topics of the report to remind families of the importance of seeking medical and legal guidance when a family member has suffered a brain injury.
Important Facts to Know About TBIs in Children
Traumatic brain injuries are a serious public health issue that greatly affects our children’s health and overall well-being. In order to better protect our children and recognize the frequency with which brain injuries occur, it is vital that we focus on some vital facts:
- Among all age groups, children have some of the highest rates of traumatic brain injury related emergency department visits.
- The most common causes of a TBI for children aged 0-14 years is by falling and being struck or hit against an object.
- For 15-24 year olds, the most common causes include falls and motor vehicle crashes.
- In 2013, there were over 640,000 emergency department visits.
- 2013 also saw nearly 18,000 hospital stays related to TBIs.
- Sports and recreation-related TBIs are a leading cause of TBI-related hospital visits amongst children and teens.
- Tragically, there were also 1,500 TBI-related deaths among children 14 years of age or younger.
- Over 61% of children who suffer from a moderate-to-severe traumatic brain injury experience a disability.
- Mild TBIs account for the most TBI-related hospital visits. It is important to understand, though, that even a “mild” TBI can still lead to severe emotional, psychological, and physical damages.
- 30-60% of children with a mild TBI have persistent symptoms one month post-injury.
- 14% of children who experienced a TBI needed educational support services twelve months later.
- Children who sustained a moderate-to-severe TBI before their 7th birthday dealt with substantially worse outcomes than children who suffered a similar injury at an older age.
It is absolutely essential that you have your child undergo a symptom assessment, and that they attend every doctor follow-up in order to ensure a safe recovery and good health across their lifespan.
The Effects of TBI in Children
Because the brains of children are still developing, a traumatic brain injury can have serious and detrimental effects on their behavior and cognitive skills. While children recover well in regards to the physical effects of the injury, there are significant risks that may go unseen and only mature in the long-term.
Common symptoms of a mild TBI can include:
- Problems with thinking/memory
- Poor concentration
- Dazed or stunned appearance
- Double or blurry vision
- Changes in moods/emotions
- Nervousness or anxiety
- Sleeping difficulties
Parents should be aware that symptoms generally develop immediately after the injury, but can also develop after a few days.
Alongside these possible effects, there are a number of medical issues that can arise including:
- Disorders of consciousness
- Post-traumatic headaches
- Increased fluid and swelling in the brain
- Problems with hormone production that regulates behavior
- Motor dysfunctions such as poor coordination, tremors, and balancing issues
- Respiratory problems
As a child’s daily life is centered around education, a TBI can have serious negative effects on their ability to perform. While most children will return to their pre-injury state, in certain cases, the need for educational support services can occur. This scenario can be complicated in cases where a child sustains multiple traumatic brain injuries over the course of their childhood.
Factors that Influence Outcome
The CDC report to Congress noted a number of important factors that can influence recovery for a childhood TBI.
The most important factors were:
- Age of injury: The younger the child the greater the effects of the TBI sustained and the more pronounced cognitive difficulties appear with age.
- Severity of injury: Understandably, a more severe injury correlates to more long-term effects.
- Family and environmental factors: Socioeconomic status and family environment are major factors that influence outcomes.
- Access to healthcare: A child who receives brain trauma but does not receive the adequate medical care following the accident – as well as continued support – is more likely to have long lasting effects.
- Individual characteristics: Characteristics such as gender, genetics, pre-injury cognitive abilities, health conditions, and a number of others factors are important in understanding the outcomes of a TBI.
Children are able to overcome many obstacles because of their youth and body’s ability to recuperate faster, but in certain cases, lifetime problems such as academic challenges, social isolation, lowered participation in activities, and depression can arise.
Because of this, it is vital that families of children who have suffered a TBI seek immediate medical attention and legal counsel.
If your child has suffered a traumatic brain injury, contact the dedicated and experienced Louisiana personal injury attorneys at the Cardone Law Firm today for your free legal consultation.
At the Cardone Law Firm, we are dedicated to providing the best legal representation for all of our clients. For over 40 years, we have been looking out for our clients’ interests and achieving successful outcomes for their cases.
Reach out to Cliff Cardone of the Cardone Law Firm at 504-522-3333 for your free legal consultation today.