How can adults help children be physically active outside and do the things they love while keeping them safe? There are ways to keep this delicate balance. For more ways to help young children and families be active and safe see www.grandparentsteachtoo.org and pod casts of "Learning through the Seasons" at wnmufm.org.
What is TBI?
According to the Center for Disease Control a traumatic brain injury is caused by a bump, blow or jolt to the head or a penetrating head injury that disrupts the normal function of the brain. Not all blows or jolts to the head result in a TBI. The majority of TBIs that occur each year are concussions or other forms of mild TBI."
ANDEREGG, MACALADY, FOX, HETRICK, KATERS
A concussion is one type of TBI caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head that can change the way your brain normally works. Concussions can also occur from a fall or a blow to the body that causes the head and brain to move quickly back and forth. Concussions are usually not life-threatening. Even so, their effects can be serious.
Families can help
Experts ask that first families be informed and stay informed about ever changing research. The cdc.gov site is an excellent place to keep informed. The site also offers free training for coaches and teachers.
Second, families must know the signs of concussion. According to the CDC, "most people with a concussion recover quickly and fully. In general, recovery may be slower among older adults, young children, and teens. Those who have had a concussion in the past are also at risk of having another one and may find that it takes longer to recover if they have another concussion." Symptoms fall into four categories: thinking/ remembering, physical, emotional /mood, and sleep. Young children may not understand or be able to explain how they feel. See the cdc.gov website for a full description of each symptom and recommendations.
Children are injured by what they do most frequently-riding a bike, scooter, or skateboard. In winter add sledding, skiing, and other sports. Organized sports have rules for safety and train coaches. It is the everyday fun activities that require families to be educated, aware, and involved.
According to Dr. Craig Coccia, neurosurgeon and strong advocate for children wearing bike helmets, families can provide helmets that fit and insist children wear that equipment. The bike and helmet go together.
Fitting is important - snug but not too tight. The padding should be fresh not dried up. If anything is loose or spins, replace the helmet. A little known fact is most helmets are designed for absorbing strong impact one time, should crack, and must be replaced to offer protection. Grandparents and parents can help by inspecting helmets and replacing them, if needed. What a great gift to help keep loved ones safe.
Editor's note: This column is penned by retired Marquette Area Public Schools teachers Iris Katers, Jean Hetrick, and Cheryl Anderegg. Esther Macalady is from Golden, Colorado. Tim Fox currently teaches at Superior Hills Elementary. It's supported by Northern Michigan University Center for Economic Education and Entrepreneurship, the School of Education, U.P. Children's Museum, U.P. Association for the Education of Young Children, and U.P. Parent Awareness of Michigan. Their book "Learning Through the Seasons" is available at area stores and www.grandparentsteachtoo.org. Their mission is to provide fun standards based activities that adults can do in the home to prepare children for school and a lifetime of learning and reduce the stress of child care.