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Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is one of the leading causes of disability and death in infants and children.  The age groups most at risk for brain injury are newborns through age 4 and teens from 15 to 19.  Among those ages 0 to 19, each year an average of 62,000 children sustain brain injuries requiring hospitalization as a result of motor vehicle accidents, falls, sports injuries, physical abuse and other causes.  Approximately 564,000 children are seen in hospital emergency departments for TBI and released.

Some of the signs of traumatic brain injury are:

  • Difficulty with speaking, seeing, hearing and using other senses.
  • Difficulty with short-term and long-term memory.
  • Difficulty with concentration when talking and listening to others.
  • Difficulty with reading and writing.
  • Difficulty with sudden changes in mood, anxiety and depression.

Infants and young children with brain injuries may lack the communication skills to report headaches, sensory problems, confusion and similar symptoms.  You may observe the following in a child with traumatic brain injury:

  • Change in eating habits.
  • Persistent crying.
  • Inability to pay attention.
  • Change in sleep habits.
  • Depressed mood.
  • Loss of interest in favorite toys or activities.

Always see your doctor if your child has received a blow to the head or body.  Brain injuries can range from mild to severe.  A mild injury to the brain is still a serious injury that requires prompt attention and an accurate diagnosis.  Early and ongoing help can make a big difference in how the child recovers.  This help can include physical or occupational therapy, counseling and special education.

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