Falls Are Top Cause of Head Trauma in Children

Falls are the most common cause of brain injuries for children under the age of 12, a new large-scale study published in the New England Journal of Medicine reports

The study, which examined more than 43,000 children, categorized patients into three groups: younger than 2 years old, between 2 and 12 years old and between 13 and 17 years old.

It found that falls were the most common cause for injury in the two younger age groups, while teens ages 13 to 17 were more likely to experience head injuries due to assault, sports activities, and motor vehicle crashes.

The research, which was collected from the Pediatric Emergency Care Applied Network, also found that 37 percent of children across all age groups had a head injury that required a CT scan, and traumatic brain injuries affected 7 percent of those children. (The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that traumatic brain injuries are the leading cause of death among children who are older than 12 months.)

There is some good news, though: "If you look at the younger kids, the fact that motor vehicle accidents are not showing up as significant causes [of head injuries] probably means we're doing a pretty good job on car seats and adequate infant car protection," Dr. Mark Proctor, a neurosurgeon at Boston Children's Hospital who was unaffiliated with the study, told NPR.

As much as you try to protect your little one, accidents can always happen. Learn more about how to handle head injuries here, so you'll know what to do in case of an emergency.

Photo of injured child courtesy of Shutterstock.