Keeping Children Safe after Brain Injury

Keeping Children Safe after Brain Injury

Janet Houston, M.H.A. and Ron Savage, Ed.D.
A child’s safety after a brain injury is a prime concern for families. Changes in cognition, behavior, or physical abilities after a brain injury can increase a youth’s risks for repeated head injuries. This tip card helps parents, educators and counselors identify a child or adolescent’s risks for repeated brain injuries with practical suggestions on guidelines for safe activities.
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Full Description

Being aware of safety after a child has a brain injury can help prevent repeated injuries. The child’s brain continues to develop through adolescence into early adulthood. An injury to the brain can have both immediate and long term consequences as the brain matures. This tip card helps parents prevent further injury by learning how to monitor safe activities as the child grows up including sports and play, pedestrian and bicycling recreation, driving, alcohol and drug use, and dating.

Pages 8

Second edition, 2011


Ron Savage, Ed.D.

He is President of the North American Brain Injury Society (NABIS). Dr. Savage specializes in the impact of brain injury on behavior and learning in children, adolescents and young adults. His international recognition as author and presenter is based on practical experience as a rehabilitation clinician and educator. Dr. Savage is also the Chairman and Co-Founder of the International Pediatric Brain Injury Society (IPBIS).


This tip card helps parents, educators and counselors...

  • identify risks for repeated injuries
  • set guidelines for safe activities

Brain Development

Increased Risk

  • Thinking or cognitive changes
  • Behavior or psychosocial changes
  • Physical changes

Sports and Play

  • Signs and symptoms of brain injury
  • Safety suggestions

Pedestrians and Bikes

  • Safety suggestions


  • Safety suggestions

Alcohol and Drug Use

  • Safety suggestions


  • Safety suggestions

More Information



Sample excerpt. Preview only – please do not copy.

Brain Development

Every brain injury is different, as is each child’s recovery. By understanding how the brain injury has affected your child, you can help keep your child safe and prevent another injury.

Just as your child’s body grows in leaps and spurts, so does your child’s brain. Scientists have found five phases of peak brain growth and development during childhood. They are the ages of: 1-6, 7-10, 11-13, 14 -17 and 18 -21. For each developmental stage, new skills are needed as school work becomes more complex, physical activities more demanding and social activities more involved. Parents and teachers can use these milestones to be alert for changes that may place the child at risk for another injury.

Sports and Play

Whether rough housing with friends or playing on a sports team, children who have had brain injuries are more prone to injuries including another brain injury. Sports such as football, gymnastics, wrestling, and ice hockey have the greatest risk for causing brain injury.

It is important that friends, parents, coaches, and teachers be aware of the signs and symptoms of brain injury. Some of the signs and symptoms may appear immediately after injury and others may not appear for several days or weeks. They include: confusion, disorientation, slurred or incoherent speech, dizziness, nausea and vomiting, light-headedness, persistent or severe headache, poor attention or concentration, memory problems, irritability or anxiety, easily fatigued or drowsy, blurry vision, ringing in the ears, intolerance to bright lights and loud noises, any loss of consciousness no matter how temporary, bleeding or clear fluid draining from nose or ears.

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