Call 413.540.1234 to
schedule an appointment
CONCERN/EAP: 413.534.2625
Billing questions? Call: 413.540.1212
CRISIS: 413.733.6661

Child & Adolescent Development: Overview
Resources
Basic InformationMore InformationLatest News
A Weak Grip May Signal Future Health Trouble -- Even in KidsNo Link Between Tdap Vaccine, Autism: StudySchool Prep Includes Planning Allergy, Asthma ManagementHealth Tip: How Often Do Kids Need to Bathe?For School Kids, Vaccines Are KeySigns Your Child Might Have Hearing LossToo Much Screen Time May Pile on the PoundsRecognizing Early Childhood Speech ProblemsHow to Get Your Kids to Eat BetterAHA: Limit Diet Sodas and Drinks, Stick to Water InsteadHere's What Happened When 1 Unvaccinated NYC Kid Got MeaslesHealth Tip: Using a Home TrampolineGluten-Free Kids' Foods Fall Short on NutritionFood Additives a Toxic Mix for KidsLongest Study Yet Finds Adult Kids of Lesbian Moms Are Doing FineTop of Teachers' To-Do List: Focus on the PositivesWhen Does Your Child's Headache Call for a Doctor Visit?Opioids Given Too Easily to Children: StudyNew Guidelines Mean Almost 800,000 More U.S. Kids Have High Blood PressureParent's Tough Childhood Can Cast Shadow Across GenerationsWhen Parents Do Time, Kids Pay the PriceKids of Gay Parents Don't Struggle More SociallyHealth Tip: Recognize Warning Signs of Youth ViolenceHealth Tip: Manage Family ArgumentsHealth Tip: Dealing With Sibling RivalrySports Safety: It's Not Just Child's PlayTo Fight Childhood Obesity, Moms to the RescueDid Folic Acid Supplementation in Foods Lead to Less Psychosis in Kids?Close Siblings Can Ease the Pain of Family ConflictHealth Tip: Healthier Eating for an Overweight ChildMake Exercise a Family Affair. Your Kids Will Thank You.Many Parents Say Sports Can Be Too Dangerous for KidsAggressive Treatment Doesn't Slow Type 2 Diabetes in Children: StudyParents' Shift Work Can Be Good -- or Bad -- for KidsFamilies Need Summertime Sleep SchedulesKids Are Overdosing on Med Meant to Fight Opioid AddictionParents Must Ask: 'Is There an Unlocked Gun in Your House?'Could Antidepressants During Pregnancy Slow a Child's Motor Skills?How 'Helicopter' Parenting Impedes a Child's DevelopmentAHA: Kids Can Drown Quickly and Silently, So Prevention Is KeyWalkable Neighborhoods Might Lower Kids' Asthma RiskPediatricians Back Flu Shot, Not Nasal Spray VaccineThink Twice About Tonsil, Adenoid RemovalKids With Asthma Need a Flu Shot: StudyTragedy of Child Sexual Abuse Takes Financial Toll, TooWhen Kids Expect a Needle to Hurt, It DoesHere Comes the Sun, and Kid Sun SafetyClosed Cars Can Become Deathly Hot in MinutesPreventing Child Maltreatment Not Yet Feasible in Primary CareIncrease in Pediatric ADHD Meds Exposures from 2000 to 2011
Questions and AnswersLinksBook Reviews
Related Topics

ADHD: Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
Childhood Mental Disorders and Illnesses
Parenting
Child Development & Parenting: Infants (0-2)
Child Development & Parenting: Early (3-7)
Child Development & Parenting: Middle (8-11)
Childhood Special Education

Head Injuries Hit 1 in 14 Kids, CDC Reports

HealthDay News
by By Serena Gordon
HealthDay Reporter
Updated: Feb 9th 2018

new article illustration

FRIDAY, Feb. 9, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- Given the news of the devastating effects of head injuries among professional football players, parents may wonder if their mini athletes are at risk, too.

Some very well might be, new research suggests.

About 7 percent of children 3 to 17 years old have experienced a head injury, according to U.S. health officials.

The findings are part of a report on children's head injuries released Feb. 9 by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

More boys (8 percent) than girls (6 percent) have had a significant head injury, according to the data. And the older kids are, the more likely they are to have had such an injury. Nearly 12 percent of 15- to 17-year-olds have had a significant head injury, the report showed.

This "suggests that as more children and teens engage in sports and other activities, the risk for a head injury also goes up," said Dr. Robert Glatter, an emergency physician at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.

The good news, he said, is that most children with a concussion improve within two weeks. It's not yet known if there are long-term effects from these injuries.

The CDC report included data from a nationally representative survey completed in 2016. Parents were asked if their children had ever had a concussion or other significant head injury.

However, the term "significant head injury" really doesn't accurately describe what has occurred, said Dr. Karl Klamar, a physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. Such injuries, he said, are forms of mild traumatic brain injury.

"Euphemisms like 'seeing stars' or 'having your bell rung' have diminished the seriousness of these injuries," Klamar said.

He noted that most of these injuries occur during sports. Other causes include motor vehicle accidents, falls and, as kids get older, physical altercations.

One new cause of head injuries -- and one that's largely preventable -- is a fall caused by distracted walking.

"Kids just aren't paying attention to what's in front of them," Glatter said. "They're looking at their phones and walking into light poles, windows and doorways."

The CDC report found that white children and kids with parents who have more than a high school education are the most likely to sustain a head injury. Klamar said that's probably because those kids have more access to sports.

What happens, then, when a child younger than 17 has a head injury?

"The results are phenomenally variable," Klamar said. "Kids may experience symptoms for a few minutes to a few hours to a few months. Every injury is different."

The severity of the injury also doesn't always predict how quickly someone will recover from the injury, he said.

Short-term symptoms can include headaches, dizziness, problems with concentration and memory, irritability, anxiety and depression. Such symptoms can affect a child's education and his or her ability to participate in school, according to Klamar.

"In terms of being able to make predictions about long-term effects, that's something we're not good at yet," he said. "But it does seem that repeated blows may be more important."

Glatter agreed. "You don't have to have a concussion to cause damage," he said.

You also don't necessarily need head impact to sustain a concussion or brain injury, he said. Body contact can transmit force to the neck and head, he explained.

A possible bright spot in the data is that most kids who'd had a head injury -- 81 percent -- had just one significant head injury.

What can parents do to help their children avoid injuries?

"First, tell them to look up and know what's going on in front of you," suggested Glatter.

If your kids have a cellphone or tablet, be sure they're aware of the importance of not using these devices when walking. "They need to focus on their environment," he said.

Both experts said that using helmets in sports is crucial. Klamar emphasized always wearing a helmet for both competitive and recreational sports, such as ice skating, bike riding and sledding.

Klamar and Glatter also said kids need to wear a seat belt in all moving vehicles, including taxis. Younger children need to be in car seats or booster seats that are age- and size-appropriate, Klamar said.

"Size is probably the biggest factor," Klamar said. "Children need to be at least 48 inches tall and at least 80 pounds before they're out of a booster seat."

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has advice on preventing kids' head injuries.