Study results indicate that the most common brain injury among children younger than 12 years of age is falling. The injury is typically sustained following a fall from a moving bicycle, scooter, or other wheeled device, according to a news release from the Wayne State University Division of Research.

The data stems from an analysis encompassing more than 40,000 cases of brain trauma in children and appears in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The study reports that among US adolescents, the three major causes of brain trauma include sports-related injuries, automobile accidents, and assaults. The findings are based on a previous study of pediatric brain trauma focused on children’s medical histories at 25 sites in the Pediatric Emergency Care Applied Research Network (PECARN).

Prashant V. Mahajan, MD, Children’s Hospital of Michigan Division Chief and Research Director of Emergency Medicine, and study author, explains that the researchers studied a “very large” cohort of patients in their secondary analysis of the previously collected data.

“…. The good news for all of us is that they demonstrate clearly the importance of prevention in protecting children from brain trauma. The bottom line on this prospective study of more than 43,000 pediatric brain injuries is that it identifies falls — often from bicycles — as the major cause of trauma in children under age 12. Knowing that, we’re now better able to help educate parents and policymakers alike about the great value of safety helmets for this population of kids,” Mahajan says.

Similarly, the data regarding adolescent trauma highlights the importance of providing sports safety equipment and automobile seat belts for teens, Mahajan adds.

Mahajan also states that his 18 years of experience in pediatric emergency rooms have spotlighted the importance of prevention, and on several occasions he has “treated injured children who had been protected by safety equipment and also injured children who have not been protected, during the same eight-hour shift in the emergency room. In most cases, the children who had benefited from wearing the helmets or seat belts sustained less severe injuries.”

Source(s): Science Daily, Wayne State University Division of Research