Early research has shown that very young children who sustained head trauma often meet the diagnostic criteria for ADHD within two years—even if they were not diagnosed with ADHD prior to the injury. Spurred by these findings, a study published in The British Medical Journal investigated a relationship between head injuries and childhood ADHD. The research team collected data from 62,088 children and divided them into two groups: children who had head, burns, or scald injuries before they reached the age of 2, and children who were injury-free. They discovered that those who received head injuries in early childhood are 90 percent more likely to get diagnosed with ADHD before they turned 10.
Spinal trauma usually accompanies head injury, as the abrupt cessation of movement to the head with impact also affects spinal alignment. For these reasons, it is important for your child to receive a chiropractic check-up or exam if he or she sustained any head injuries in childhood. Prevention can go a long way, too. Here are some ways to protect your child from spinal and head trauma:
Choose your birth options in advance, in order to avoid unnecessary birth trauma caused by instrumental intervention in birth.
Never leave a baby alone on raised surfaces like beds, changing tables or chairs. If you have to leave the baby unattended, place him or her on the floor, in a crib or in a playpen.
Childproof your home. Thoroughly install window guards, place safety gates near stairs and doors, and get rid of furniture with protruding edges. If there’s a playground in your yard, make sure there are shock-absorbing surfaces like sand or rubber mats under the playground equipment.
In the car, make sure your child is properly buckled up. Always use a child safety seat or, when they’re older, a seat belt.
Your children should wear appropriate headgear and other safety equipment when skating, riding a bike, skiing or playing contact sports.
Be aware of what your kids’ sports activities entail.
Make sure your child takes it easy when recovering from a head injury, foregoing any sports or rough play until the injury has healed completely. Not only will it take longer for the brain to heal if it quickly gets re-injured, but every injury does additional damage.
This article appeared in Pathways to Family Wellness magazine, Issue #43.
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