There are many ways to reduce the chances of a traumatic brain injury (TBI), including:
- Wearing a seat belt every time you drive or ride in a motor vehicle.
Buckling your child in the car using a child safety seat, booster seat, or seat belt (according to the child's height, weight, and age).
- Children should start using a booster seat when they outgrow their child safety seats (usually when they weigh about 40 pounds). They should continue to ride in a booster seat until the lap/shoulder belts in the car fit properly, typically when they are 4’9” tall.1
- Never driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Wearing 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.
Making 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.2,3,4
Making 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.
- Making sure the surface on your child's playground is made of shock-absorbing material, such as hardwood mulch or sand.5
There are many opportunities to raise awareness in your community about TBI. Below are some times of the year that may be opportune for drawing attention to a particular issue:
- The week of Valentine’s Day is National Child Passenger Safety Week.
- March is Brain Injury Awareness Month.
- The fourth week of April is National Playground Safety Week.
- December is National Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention Month.
Schools are a great place to incorporate prevention efforts. The National SAFE KIDS campaign website and the National Program for Playground Safety website have plans for teachers and have student handouts about playground, motor vehicle, and sports and recreation safety.
The ThinkFirst National Injury Prevention Foundation also offers TBI prevention and educational programs for young people.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Warning on interaction between air bags and rear-facing child restraints. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report MMWR 1993;42(No.14):20–2.
- Judge JO, Lindsey C, Underwood M, Winsemius D. Balance improvements in older women: effects of exercise training. Physical Therapy 1993;73(4):254–65.
- Lord SR, Caplan GA, Ward JA. Balance, reaction time, and muscle strength in exercising older women: a pilot study. Archives of Physical and Medical Rehabilitation 1993;74(8):837–9.
- Campbell AJ, Robertson MC, Gardner MM, Norton RN, Buchner DM. Falls prevention over 2 years: a randomized controlled trial in women 80 years and older. Age and Aging 1999;28:513–18.
- Mack MG, Sacks JJ, Thompson D. Testing the impact attenuation of loose fill playground surfaces. Injury Prevention 2000;6:141–4.
From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. www.cdc.gov.