Brain Injury Prevention

When it comes to brain injuries, an ounce of protection can make the difference between life and death. Most brain injuries are preventable. The following are prevention strategies geared toward common types of accidents.

Preventing Injuries from Auto Accidents:

  • For adults and children over age 12, airbags used with lap-shoulder belts offer the most effective safety protection.
  • Infants and children under 12 should always be in the back seat, using a seatbelt (children in rear-facing car seats should always be in the back seat).
  • Never put an infant in the front seat, rear facing or otherwise.
  • Pedestrians walking after dark should wear bright, reflective clothing.
  • Do not wear headphones when crossing streets.
  • Teach children to look left, right, then left again before crossing a street.

Preventing Injuries from Bicycle Accidents:

  • Wear a helmet every time you ride a bike—helmets are 85 to 88 percent effective in preventing head injuries, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
  • Make sure the helmet fits correctly—it should be worn flatly on the top of the head, not tilting backward. Adjust the chin strap so that it fits snugly; this will help secure the helmet in place.
  • Be sure the helmet meets the standards of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and/or the Snell Memorial Foundation.
  • Replace your helmet after every fall or every two years.
  • Help children understand and obey safety rules of the road.
  • Teach children to always exercise caution when in traffic.
  • Follow key bicycle safety habits:
    • Stop at stop signs.
    • Obey traffic lights.
    • Yield to all pedestrians.
    • Take great care at intersections.
    • Ride with traffic—never against.
    • Check driveways and alleys.
    • Watch for turning cars and parked cars (opening doors).
    • Never share a seat.
    • Have reflectors/headlights for low visibility and night riding.
    • Never use headphones while biking.
    • Use correct hand signals and always look behind you before changing lanes.

Preventing Falls
It is estimated that about 75 percent of all falls occur at home. A little common sense goes a long way when it comes to fall prevention.

  • Use non-skid contrasting tape, rubber stair treads or coated, skid-resistant surface treatment on non-carpeted stairs. Apply strips of tape to dry, clean surfaces at one-inch intervals. Three strips of tape provide good traction on a typical step.
  • Make sure carpeting is firmly attached along stairs.
  • Stairways should have handrails—use them.
  • Provide adequate lighting, especially on stairs for people with poor vision or who have difficulty walking.
  • Do not place obstacles in walking pathways.
  • Use sturdy step stools—preferably with handrails.
  • Clean spills immediately.

How Seniors Can Prevent Falling

  • Exercise regularly to maintain strength; see your doctor before starting any exercise regime.
  • Install grab bars/non-slip mats/handrails/lights where necessary.  
  • Remove items, such as personal effects or extension cords that are easy to trip over.
  • Review all possible side-effects of medications.
  • Wear safe, non-slip shoes
  • Be sure to get regular vision tests.

Protect Children from Falls

  • Never leave your child unattended in the bath/shower.
  • Use non-skid strips in the bathtub.
  • Use wall-mounted, non-accordion safety gates.
  • Use doorknob covers, locks, stops and door holders.
  • Place safety netting on balconies/decks.
  • Install window guards and open windows from top.
  • Keep stairs clear.
  • Make sure children can’t squeeze through stair railings/banisters.
  • Beware of top-heavy furniture on which a child could climb.
  • Make sure top bunks have guard rails and only allow kids 7 years of age and older to sleep on them.
  • Side rails on cribs should always be in the up position.
  • Use safety belts for infants in any stationary position: stroller/highchair/changing table/ shopping carts.

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