0922 GMT February 18, 2020
The study, published in Brain Injury, shows that 72 percent of cases across all age groups were attributable to consumer products that are regulated by the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, eurekalert.org wrote.
"Structural designs, such as uneven flooring, often contribute to falls, which is the leading cause of traumatic brain injury in children," said lead author Dr. Bina Ali from the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation in the US.
She added: "In most cases, infants and children are safe in bed and when playing sports outside, but our study highlights some of the risks and the priorities in different age groups for preventing serious head injuries."
Authors reviewed injury surveillance data from over four years, from (inclusive of) 2010 to 2013. They focused on children and adolescents in five age groups between 0 to 19 years and identified the products associated with their injuries. The investigation provides a comprehensive understanding of the contribution of consumer product-related traumatic brain injuries in children and adolescents.
Children and adolescents accounted for approximately one million non-fatal traumatic brain injury cases treated in emergency departments per year.
In infants under a year, a quarter were caused by falling from beds, while floors were the second leading cause at 14 percent.
The authors highlight bunk beds as especially risky. In children aged one to four years, 10 percent were caused by beds, 10 percent by stairs and 10 percent by floors.
As children became more mobile, the leading causes of head injuries moved outside the home.
At aged five to nine years, floors were still the leading cause (six percent), but bicycle accidents came second at five percent
In the final two age groups, 10-14 years and 15-19 years, American football was the leading cause of traumatic brain injury — at 14 percent in the younger age group and nine percent in the oldest. Basketball came second at six percent and five percent respectively.
Other activities that contributed to traumatic brain injuries in the final two age groups included bicycles (five percent in 10 to 14-year-olds and three percent in 15 to 19-year-olds) and soccer (five percent in 10 to 14-year-olds and four percent in 15 to 19-year-olds).
"Simple measures such as removing trip hazards, using stair gates and guard rails, avoiding hard surface playgrounds and wearing helmets could help reduce the risk of injury, as well as adult education to ensure proper use of consumer products and adherence to safety guidelines" said Ali.
The authors noted several limitations to the study. For example, it only included patients treated in hospital emergency departments, so it could not assess cases treated at doctors' offices and school health clinics. Due to a lack of location information, the authors were unable to investigate where injuries were sustained. They were also unable to examine how injuries varied by socioeconomic status.