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Playing Safe: The Importance of Wearing Helmets

When the weather is nice, children want to play outside. Summer is a time for bike-riding, playing sports, and playing on playgrounds. It is also a time when children are susceptible to serious head injuries. Falls from bikes, playground equipment and sport's injuries can cause concussions and other serious head injuries that have life-long consequences.

Common Concussion Symptoms

A concussion is a bruising of the brain that can cause permanent damage. Knowing when your child has a concussion is not always obvious. A concussion can occur even if the child did not lose consciousness. Some of the common signs to look for include:

  • Disorientation
  • Headaches
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Blurred vision

If you suspect your child has a concussion, seek medical attention immediately. While there is not an emergency procedure doctors perform for a concussion, it is important to rule out any skull fractures or internal bleeding.

It is also important to take the required time off to rest and heal from a concussion before playing sports or biking again. If a child receives a concussion when his previous concussion is not already healed, the second concussion can cause even more devastating injuries.

Preventing Concussions

Head injuries can be prevented. Wearing a helmet during sports and when biking reduces the risk of a brain injury by 85 percent. It is also extremely important that children wear the correct size of helmet and that it is secured properly to ensure protection.

It is also important that parents lead by example. Adults are just as susceptible to head injuries. In addition, helmets offer us the same protection that they offer our children.

Source: WPRI, "Important facts about child head trauma," Courtney Caligiuri, July 16, 2012.

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