We all know that taking care of a baby or toddler can be a challenge at the best of times. They are very curious about the world around them, and strive for independence. This adventurous nature means they can get themselves into risky, and potentially dangerous situations.

Across the UK our staff meet families whose lives have been impacted by accidents, many of which could have been avoided. Part of the role of the Child Brain Injury Trust is to spread messages of safety and how accidental brain injuries can be prevented. Many of you are probably familiar with our road safety work and egg helmet demonstrations targeting older children. However, Action for Brain Injury Week 2017 will be focussing on head injuries in children under 5 years old.

Research(1) shows that of 5700 children (under 15 yrs) included in a study of head injuries sustained in 2009/10, 19% were under 1 year old. A further 30% were under 4 years old. The research comprises figures from 216 hospitals across the UK, during the six months between September 2009 and February 2010. That’s a lot of children and young people who have sustained head injuries.

The most common causes of head injury were falls at just over 62% in children under 5. In older children the most common causes were sports related incidents.

Just over half of the incidents happened at home and a further 15.3% in school / nursery. The research concludes that there is a need for “targeted age-specific head injury prevention”. Our 2017 campaign seeks to do just that.
Of course not all of the head injuries included in the study will have a lifelong impact, but the numbers make for worrying reading. Younger children fall all the time, and whether you are a parent, carer, teacher or nursery assistant you need to know the signs to look out for and when to seek medical help.

When we think of brain injury we often think of falls and accidents, however there are other causes too. It’s vital that we have an understanding of these conditions as little ones can’t tell us what is wrong or how they are feeling. Illnesses such as meningitis can also result in a brain injury as it affects the protective membranes around the brain and spinal cord. Our campaign will also highlight the signs and symptoms of meningitis. The key message here is if you are concerned about a child in your care, seek medical help as soon as you can.
During Action for Brain Injury Week we will be delivering awareness sessions targeting day cares, playschools and nurseries. If you would like to book a session please call our team on 01869 341075, who will put you in touch with a local contact.

We’ll be designing some new information packs to send out to those working in early years, please keep an eye on our website and social media for more information. Of course there will be some fun stuff too! We will be bringing Action for Brain Injury Week to a close with a Big Teddy Bear Toddle that schools and nurseries can take part in. This sponsored event will provide vital funding to support our work helping families right across the UK. Events kick off on Monday 8th May 2017, with the Big Teddy Bear Toddle taking place on Thursday 11th May. Visit our Just Giving page for more information.

To register your interest in getting involved please email teddy@cbituk.org.

 

(1) “Epidemiology of children with head injury: a national overview”, by L Trefan, R Houston, G Pearson, R Edwards, P Hyde, I Maconochie and RC Parslow 2016. Published by the Archive of Diseases in Childhood. Click here to read the full article.