Often, the kinds of events that lead to brain injury-including car accidents, falls, and acts of violence-are simply beyond our control. But frequently, the brain injuries are not.
In fact, brain injuries can often be avoided, and what follows are some of the crucial, yet simple, measures we can all take every day to avoid such unnecessary heartbreak.
Always wear your seatbelt.
Using seatbelts is the single most effective means of reducing both fatal and non-fatal injuries in motor vehicle accidents.
Never drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs-and never get into a vehicle with a driver who is.
Even a small amount of alcohol or drugs will impair one’s ability to drive safely and respond effectively.
Always make certain that children are properly restrained in a back seat when traveling in a car.
Connecticut law requires that infants be restrained in a rear-facing car seat until they are one year of age and weigh 20 pounds and that toddlers and young children continue to use appropriate restraints seats until they are at least six years old and weigh 60 pounds. ( those who outgrow their car seats must use booster seats with lap and shoulder belts.) Children under 12 should always ride in the back seat.
Bicycle helmets have been shown to reduce the risk of brain injury by as much as 88%.
Always wear a helmet when riding a bike.
Connecticut law requires that all children under the age of 16 wear a helmet when riding a bicycle. However, adults need helmets, too! Bicyclists hospitalized with head injuries are 20 times more likely to die than those without head injuries.
Helmets should be worn for other activities as well- including the following.
· Riding motor-cycles, snowmobiles, and all-terrain vehicles.
· Contact sports, such as football, hockey, or boxing
· Using in – line skate or riding a skateboard.
· Batting and running the bases in baseball and softball.
· Horseback riding.
· Skiing and snowboarding.
Avoid falls in the home by taking certain specific precautions.
· Install and use handrails on stairways
· Install window guards to prevent young children from falling out of open windows.
· Use safety gates at the top of and bottom of stairs when young children are around.
· Remove tripping hazards, such as small area rugs and loose electrical cords.
· Use non-slip mats in the bathtub and on shower floors.
Avoid street accidents by teaching children pedestrian safety.
While no children under the age of ten should ever be allowed to cross the street alone, it’s important to teach all children the following rules.
· Always cross at corners and crosswalks.
· Always stop at the curb before crossing.
· Always look left and right-then left again-before crossing.
· Walk- don’t run-when crossing.
· When crossing the street in front of a school bus, stay at least ten feet in front of the bus.
Always keep children safe in other ways, too.
· Never shake a baby.
· And always store all firearms-including BB and pellet guns-unloaded, locked up, and out of reach using a gun lock box or a gun safe. Be sure to keep all keys and lock combinations hidden in a separate location