Thursday, March 11, 2010

Older Adults and Babies Most Vulnerable to Preventable Head Injuries at Home

March is Traumatic Brain Injury Month. We are all aware that brain injuries occur in combat and vehicle crashes, but we also need to remember that brain injury can occur at other times as well. Therefore it is important to be aware of other causes of brain injury besides combat and vehicle crashes.

Accidental falls are the leading cause of non-fatal injury among Americans of all ages and among Americans age 65 and older, falls are the leading cause of fatal injuries. Among older adults, traumatic brain injury (TBI) causes nearly 50% of fall-related fatalities. In children ages 4 and younger, TBI is the primary cause of fall-related death.

In 2008, nearly 8.6 million Americans suffered accidental falls according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission statistics indicate that an estimated 1.5 million people are treated for head injuries and nearly 12,000 are treated for neck fractures every year at U.S. hospital emergency rooms. Also in 2008, more than 31,000 head injuries were attributed to common baby-related products. Some of the biggest contributors were car seats (5,899), baby strollers (5,350), high chairs (4,617), and cribs (2,847). Nearly 100% of these injuries affected children under age 4, and in those that were hospitalized, skull fractures and hematomas were the most common injuries.

Remember to always be aware of trip hazards in your home – loose floor rugs, cords running across a path, etc. product safety recalls – such as car seats, strollers, etc can be found at the Consumer Product Safety Commission Millions of injuries could be prevented every year in the US by being aware of trip hazards and child products that have been recalled due to safety issues.

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