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How Can Parents Help Prevent Concussions?

Reviewed by: Mary L. Gavin, MD

I keep reading about how common concussions are in kids and teens and how serious they can be. What can I do to help protect my kids?
– Edie

A concussion is an injury to the brain that causes temporary changes in the way the brain works. Concussions happen when someone has a blow to the head or the head is shaken back and forth with great force.

Concussion Safety in Sports

Sports-related concussions are becoming more common in kids and teens. At highest risk are those who play:

  • football
  • ice hockey
  • lacrosse
  • soccer
  • field hockey

Nothing can prevent every concussion. But safety gear helps protect against severe head trauma. All kids should wear the proper headgear and safety equipment when:

Concussion Safety at Home

Childproofing your home is key to keeping a baby or toddler safe from concussions and other injuries:

  • Babies reach, grasp, roll, sit, crawl, pull up, "cruise" along furniture, and walk.
  • Toddlers may pull themselves up using table legs. They'll use bureaus and dressers as jungle gyms and reach for whatever they can see.

All these activities can lead to a head injury that causes a concussion. Make sure your child has a safe place to play and explore, and always keep an eye on your baby or toddler.

Concussion Safety on the Road

Proper child car seats, booster seats, and seatbelts can help prevent head injuries in a car accident. They should be used every time kids are in a car.

What Else Should I Know?

People are much more likely to get a concussion if they've had one before. So prevention is very important after a head injury. Repeated concussions can lead to lasting brain damage, even when the injuries happen months or years apart.

Concussions are serious injuries that can be even more serious if kids don't get the time and rest needed to heal them completely. Anyone with a concussion needs to heal before doing anything that could lead to another concussion.

Safety steps can help prevent concussions. If a concussion does happen, following a doctor's advice can lessen its effects.

Reviewed by: Mary L. Gavin, MD
Date reviewed: October 2018