Consumer Products That May Cause Traumatic Brain Injury

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), traumatic brain injury accounts for millionsof emergency department visits every year. In 2014, 812,000 children visited an emergency room for a traumatic brain injury. There are many different causes of brain injury. However, a recent studyshowed that consumer products are likely to be the cause of traumatic brain injury (TBI) in children. The study found that most TBIs in children are caused by products such as beds, flooring, and sports equipment.

The Study

The study focused on products and activities linked to TBI in children and teenagers. Researchers analyzed data related to over 4 million nonfatal TBIs reported in emergency rooms between 2010 and 2013. There were 1.1 million cases of TBI in teenagers aged 15-19 years old. There were 835,000 in children aged 10 to 14 years old, 683,000 in children aged 5 to 9, 1 million in children aged 1 to 4, and 380,000 in babies under a year.

The study found that over 70% of TBIs in children were the result of a consumer product. It found that 42% of head injuries in infants were the result of home furnishings and fixtures. Within this group of home furnishings and fixtures, beds were found to be the most likely to cause a TBI, particularly among infants and children aged 1 to 4. This is not surprising given that young children spend much of their time at home. Car seats were found to be the fifth leading cause of brain injury in young children. While properly used car seats can save lives when they are used for purposes other than protecting a child in the car, they can be dangerous.

Sports and recreation products contributed significantly to TBI in children aged 5 to 9, accounting for 32% of all injuries. These products were also significant contributors to TBIs in children aged 10-14 and teens aged 15-19. Among the sports and recreation products, bicycles, footballs, and basketballs were the most likely to cause a TBI.

The study had some limitations given that the severity of the injuries was not investigated. In addition, it focused solely on injuries that resulted in a trip to the emergency department and not on other possible TBIs.

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