Preventing Brain Injuries
According to the Brain Injury Association, a person who has suffered one brain injury is three times more likely to suffer a second injury. And after a second injury, eight times more likely to incur a third. These statistics underline the importance of prevention.
- Keep guns unloaded and locked up, with bullets stored and locked in a different location. Keep all gun-related keys inaccessible to children.
- Talk to children about the risk of gun injury.
- Consider trigger locks and loading indicators for guns. It is estimated that 30% of all unintentional shootings could be prevented by these safety features.
- Always put infants and children under 12 in the back seat of the vehicle.
- Children under 20 pounds should be in rear facing child safety seats, in the back seat. Children weighing 20 to 40 pounds should ride in approved car seats, facing forward and in the back seat. Children over 40 pounds should ride in booster seats in the back seat until they grow enough for both shoulder and lap belts to fit correctly.
- When crossing the street, children should hold an adult's hand and cross at designated areas.
- Children should never cross the street between parked cars.
- If absence of a sidewalk forces the child to walk in the roadway, he/she should walk on the left side of the road, facing traffic.
- Make sure the child wears a helmet when bicycling. Buy a helmet that meets published safety standards.
- Tighten the chin strap so that only two fingers fit under the strap, and place the helmet directly over the forehead.
- Protective surfacing under and around all playground equipment is the most critical safety factor in playgrounds. The safest surfaces are soft, impact-absorbing materials such as sand (10 inches) or wood chips (12 inches). Rubber mats also help.
- Children should always be supervised when on equipment.
- There should be a six foot clearance around every piece of equipment, and 12 feet between two pieces.
- Children should not be allowed to play on trampolines.
- As with children, adults should wear helmets when bicycling. The helmet should meet published safety standards and the rider should tighten the chin strap until only two fingers fit under it.
- Wear a helmet when motorcycling. They have been shown to be 67% effective in preventing brain injuries.
- Wear your seat belt. ALWAYS.
- Learn to recognize the signs of fatigue when driving: heavy or sore eyes, day-dreaming, continual yawning, feeling cramped, varying your speed for no reason, wandering over the center line, slowing reactions to traffic, or making rash decisions because you feel impatient.
- Guns should be unloaded and locked up. Ask police for advice on safe storage and gun locks.
- Exercise regularly. Exercise that improves balance and coordination—such as Tai Chi—is especially helpful. Consult a doctor for the best type of exercise program.
- Keep stray items, sulh as magazines, clothes, and shoes, off stairs and out of walking areas to avoid falls.
- Store oft-used items in cabinets that can be reached easily without a step stool.
- Install grab bars in the tub or shower and next to the toilet. Use non-slip mats on tub and shower floors.
- Install handrails and lights on all stairs, and outside.
- Improve lighting in the home.
- Always wear shoes, preferably sturdy shoes with thin, non-slip soles instead of thick soled running shoes. Avoid slippers.
- Periodically ask your health care provider to review medications. Some medicines, or combinations of medicines, can cause drowsiness or light-headedness.