Sustaining a head or brain injury is serious under any circumstances. Traumatic brain injuries caused an average of 176 deaths in the U.S. every day in 2020, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. If a child sustains a brain injury, the repercussions can be even worse than for adults. Damage or harm to the brain while it is still developing can have long-term effects that follow a child for life.
The Effects of Injuries on a Still-Developing Brain
The brain is an extremely complex organ. Scientists believe that the brain continues to develop until the mid- to late 20s (around age 25 or later). While a brain is still growing and maturing, any damage to its tissues could delay development. This disruption can throw a child off track mentally, cognitively, behaviorally, emotionally and physically. A brain injury in childhood could lead to missed milestones and delays behind the child’s peers.
The symptoms of a brain injury in a child may include a persistent headache, sensitivity to light or sound, confusion, memory loss, problems with balance, nausea, difficulty concentrating, blurred vision and trouble sleeping. However, short-term or acute symptoms are not the only risk associated with childhood head injuries. If a source of trauma interrupted the development of the child’s brain, he or she could suffer chronic effects, as well.
The brain is responsible for virtually every function in the human body. This includes motor function, muscle development, balance, speech, communication, vision, hearing, comprehension and behavior. Any of these could be affected by a brain injury early on in a child’s life, depending on which area of the brain is damaged. While some children make full recoveries, others experience permanent brain damage.
Childhood Brain Injuries and Long-Term Behavioral Problems
Studies have found that up to 50 percent of children who suffer brain injuries are at risk of behavioral problems and disorders later in life. Significantly, these behavioral problems often worsen with time rather than improve. Examples of behavioral issues that have been noted in children with brain injuries include:
- Mental illness
- Psychiatric disorders
- Anxiety or depression
- Aggression or outbursts
- Personality changes or disorders
- Mood disorders
- Attention-deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
- Trouble focusing
- Poor school attendance
- Substance abuse
- Predisposition to violent crime
- Suicidal tendencies
Although some behavioral changes resolve within the first year after a brain injury, issues that do persist are typically permanent for the individual. A child with a behavioral condition from a head injury may need lifelong medical and rehabilitative treatment, including multiple types of therapies. Positive environments and parenting styles for children with brain injuries could help reduce chronic behavioral problems later in life.
Common Causes of Head Injuries in Childhood
Prevention is always better than cure when it comes to childhood head injuries. You may be able to protect your child from a serious head or brain injury by identifying and avoiding the most common causes of these injuries in Vancouver. The top causes include:
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Skateboard or rollerblade accidents
- Sports incidents
- Getting hit by falling objects
You can protect your child by ensuring safe environments as much as possible. In a motor vehicle, make sure your child is always secured in the proper car seat or seat belt. Make your child wear a helmet while playing sports or engaging in recreational activities.
Pursuing Compensation for a Childhood Head Injury
If your child suffered a head or brain injury in a preventable accident, your family may be eligible for financial compensation. If someone else caused the head injury, that person is responsible for paying for your child’s care, including future medical needs for a long-term brain injury. Contact a brain injury attorney near you as soon as possible to discuss your legal rights if your child gets injured in Vancouver.