According to the Brain Injury Association, more than one million children suffer brain injuries every year and approximately 165,000 require hospitalization. Traumatic brain injury is the most frequent cause of disability and death among children and adolescents in the U.S. Rates of traumatic brain injury are highest among children ages 0 to 4. Sometimes, brain injury in infancy or early childhood can lead to cerebral palsy, a disorder that affects a child’s ability to move in a coordinated and purposeful manner.
Recent studies show that children’s skulls are only 1/8 as strong as those of adults. For this reason, children are much more vulnerable to injury through deformation and fracture of the skull, which can injure the brain. The extent of brain damage depends on the severity of the injury. A child who is involved high-speed car accident is more likely to experience a brain injury than a child who is hit by a low-speed ball.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that parents contact their child’s healthcare provider for advice on any injury that is more than a light bump on the head.