Head injuries, especially those that develop into traumatic brain injuries (TBI), are a serious health risk. According to the Centers for Disease Control, “An estimated 1.7 million TBI-related deaths, hospitalizations, and emergency department visits occur in the U.S. each year. Nearly 80% of these individuals are treated and released from an emergency department. TBI is a contributing factor to a third (30.5%) of all injury-related deaths in the United States, or about 52,000 deaths annually.”
The Center for Head Injury Services also shares some sobering facts from the Coma Guide for Caregiver from the Delaware Health and Social Services, Division for Aging and Adults with Physical Disabilities:
- Every 5 minutes someone dies from a head injury
- 140,000 people worldwide
- 75,000 - 100,000 in the U.S.
- Over ½ of brain injury deaths occur at the time of the incident or within two hours of hospitalization
- Every 5 minutes someone becomes permanently disabled due a head injury
- 70,000 - 90,000 of those who survive will have lifelong disabilities
- 2,000 more will live in a persistent vegetative state
- Over 50% of those who sustain a brain injury have been intoxicated at the time of injury
- The cost of TBI in the U.S. is over $48 billion each year
In recognition of Brain Injury Awareness Month, we urge you to follow these best practices from the CDC:
- Buckle your child in the car using a child safety seat, booster seat, or seat belt (according to the child's height, weight, and age).
- Wear a seat belt every time you drive or ride in a motor vehicle.
- Never drive while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- Wear a helmet and making sure your children wear helmets when:
- Riding a bike, motorcycle, snowmobile, scooter, or all-terrain vehicle;
- Playing a contact sport such as football, ice hockey, or boxing;
- Using in-line skates or riding a skateboard;
- Batting and running bases in baseball or softball;
- Riding a horse; or
- Skiing or snowboarding.
- Make living areas safer for seniors, by:
- Removing tripping hazards such as throw rugs and clutter in walkways;
- Using nonslip mats in the bathtub and on shower floors; Installing grab bars next to the toilet and in the tub or shower;
- Installing handrails on both sides of stairways;
- Improving lighting throughout the home; and
- Maintaining a regular physical activity program, if your doctor agrees, to improve lower body strength and balance.
- Make living areas safer for children, by:
- Installing window guards to keep young children from falling out of open windows; and
- Using safety gates at the top and bottom of stairs when young children are around.
- Make sure the surface on your child's playground is made of shock-absorbing material, such as hardwood mulch or sand.
You can help ensure that you or your team is prepared in the event of an emergency.