How to prevent the horror of head injuries
All children will unfortunately sustain injuries at some point, with scraped knees and cut fingers being part and parcel of growing up.
However, parents everywhere will hope to avoid more serious incidents - and in particular, knocks to the head. These can be extremely serious, potentially resulting in concussion and even damage to the brain in extreme cases.
And according to new research, parents and caregivers can play a key role in reducing the severity of any bumps to the head that do occur - and cutting the likelihood of them happening in the first place - by doing something as simple as protecting children in advance wherever possible.
The study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine looked at more than 40,000 cases of brain trauma in children and discovered that the most common cause is falling. This is something that mums and dads could act to prevent and therefore protect their little ones from harm.
Author Dr Prashant Mahajan said: "The good news for all of us is that [the findings] demonstrate clearly the importance of prevention in protecting children from brain trauma. Our study really emphasises the importance of educating parents as a key strategy for reducing the severity of such brain injuries among children everywhere."
So, what are the easy things you can do at home and in the garden to keep your child safe from falls and therefore cut the chances of the most common cause of head injury?
1. Install child-proofing features
As soon as your child is old enough to crawl (preferably before, so you're ready in advance), install window guards on any windows that can be opened and put safety gates at the top and bottom of stairs. Also, ensure furniture isn't placed in a manner that's tempting to climb on - for example, underneath cupboards or shelves containing children's toys.
2. Always supervise on play equipment
Items like climbing frames for the garden and even soft play equipment for inside look really safe and sturdy, but a fall can occur at any time and so parents should be ready to catch children while they're having fun on them. Don't be tempted to get distracted by other people's conversations; keep your eye on your kids and hover your hands just underneath really small toddlers, who tend to be more off-balance than bigger children.
3. Choose safety-accredited equipment
Unsafe toys are an unnecessary risk, so always choose play equipment that has been tested and proven as safe. For instance,most of our trampolines here at TP Toys have unique Surroundsafe technology and also comply with the European safety standard (EN71-Pt14 Draft) for domestic trampolines, giving you added peace of mind.
Similarly, well-made toys like our Scuttlebug won't come apart as children ride on them, which is something that could happen with those from unscrupulous manufacturers.
4. Be careful in the car
While car accidents are the main risk to children riding in motor vehicles, falls can also occur if youngsters are not provided with the correct safety equipment. For example, although booster seats are suitable for bigger kids, much smaller tots can wobble off them and hit their head on the hard plastic car door or even land in the footwell.
Always follow the age and height guidelines for child car seats to prevent this happening and reduce the likelihood of head injuries.
Falls are something that no parent wants to see, but these are all easy tips to follow and should lessen the chances of them happening to young children. And hopefully, that should cut the national rate of serious head injuries.