Dr. Campbell: Concussions on the rise in infants

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Between 2003 and 2011 the number of these emergency room encounters for infants and toddlers has risen nearly 25 percent, according to a new study published in the journal Pediatrics this month.

More and more infants and toddlers are visiting emergency rooms due to injuries related to baby strollers, cribs and nursery products—much of the increased rate of ER visits were due to concussions. The rate of concussions has doubled between 2005 and 2001.

1. What is a concussion?

A concussion is a traumatic brain injury that affects your brain’s function—it can lead to unconsciousness, difficulty with balance and coordination, and can affect memory and concentration. It most commonly occurs when there is a blow to the head or when the upper body or head is shaken violently—in reality, the brain is jarred and smashed against the skull.

2. How do these injuries happen in infants and children?

In this particular study, baby carriers were the most common cause of concussion—typically the caregiver may trip or fall resulting in an accidentally blow to the baby’s head. With strollers, children can be hurt if the stroller tips over or rolls away.

Other injuries occur when smaller children are using walkers—giving them more mobility and access than they are developmentally ready for. This can lead to falls and injuries.

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3. What can parents do to prevent injury?

Certainly, the best advice is to use common sense and always supervise your infant or toddler.

Here are some other important safety tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics:

Pediatricians recommend knowing the four “R’s”:

• Research: Before you buy a nursery product, do some digging using a “trusted resource,” like the American Academy of Pediatrics.
• Recalls: Periodically check whether any of your nursery products have been recalled, using the federal website Recalls.gov.
• Register: Products come with forms that allow consumers to register them with the manufacturer. If the product is recalled, the company can contact you.
• Read the manual: Make sure you know how to use the product and understand all of its safety features.

To get in touch with Dr. Campbell, you can head to his website, Facebook page or message him on Twitter.

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