Most of us have bumped our heads -- or worse -- in the past. While we've all had our share of injuries, some are much more serious than others. Sometimes, a collision that seems innocuous at the time leads to greater consequences. One of these is a concussion, which is caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head.
Concussions cannot be cured, so prevention is essential. At the same time, we don't want to live our lives encased in bubble cushioning. Thus, concussion prevention involves education first and foremost, and that education includes basic tactics you can do every day to better protect yourself and your family. Let's talk about some key areas where safety is of utmost importance.
In a Vehicle
With so many people driving to and fro on a daily basis, automobile safety is one of the first areas that comes to mind for concussion prevention. You can drive as safely as possible and still not be able to avoid an accident, so be sure to always employ the following practices:
- Buckle your seat belt. Wear a seat belt at all times when you ride or drive in a motor vehicle. It can protect you many types of serious injury, especially head injuries.
- Use child safety seats. Children should always be buckled into a child safety seat, booster seat, or seat belt that meets the federal safety standards. The type of seat your child requires is based on your child's age, size, and weight, as well as your vehicle type.
- If you ride a motorcycle, wear a helmet. No biker or passenger is truly safe without one, even in states that don't require this vital protective equipment. Regardless of the local laws or your own preferences, use common sense and protect your head with a properly fitted, full-face helmet every time you get on a motorcycle or moped.
Sports and Recreation
Almost everyone has a physical activity that they love to do regularly. As an adult, you probably have a long-time favorite team sport or solitary activity you're devoted to, and children are willing to try everything as they search for an outlet for all that energy.
When it comes to concussion safety for almost any of these activities, there is one golden rule, and it's the same as when you ride a motorcycle: Wear a helmet! Whether you or your child prefers baseball, football, hockey, skiing, skating, biking, sledding, or skateboarding, a helmet is essential. It dramatically decreases the impact of a hit to the head and protects against skull fractures and other serious injuries -- just make sure it fits and is in good condition.
Do your parents still live on their own? Even if they're in good health, falls are common among seniors, and you want to be sure they're living as safely as possible. Consider the following tips:
- Fall-proof the home. Think twice about the setup of your loved one's living space -- even an innocent-looking living room might hold multiple fall hazards. Some of the easiest changes to make are clearing walkways, making sure areas are well-lit, installing handrails on steps, adding safety bars to bathrooms, and moving high-up items to lower areas.
- Encourage exercise. Regular exercise can improve balance and strengthen the leg and core muscles. It's a good practice for seniors, so why not point them in the direction of an appropriate workout? Just ensure they take precautions to further minimize fall risk.
Children at Play
Whether in the playground or the kitchen, kids are always active, and it pays to be as cautious as possible. You can't make the little ones slow down, but you can do your own due diligence:
- Make your home safer. There are a number of ways to accomplish this First of all, block windows and stairs with window guards and safety gates, respectively. Keeping spaces free of clutter, using rubber mats in bathtubs, and hindering children from playing in unsafe areas are all sound tactics.
- Playground protection. Look for playgrounds with surfaces constructed of a shock-absorbing material such as hardwood mulch, fine sand, or fine gravel that's maintained to an appropriate depth. Playgrounds should be regularly inspected for safety and repair issues, so use your best judgment and keep a close eye on the kiddos.
Concussions can happen no matter how cautious you are, but by doing your best to enforce safe practices, you'll protect yourself and your loved ones as well as you can. Learning the common signs and symptoms of a concussion is another great way to ensure that medical care happens as soon as an injury occurs. By being educated and staying safe, you can live an active, physical life with your family without worrying about accidents.