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What can you do to prevent a concussion?

Concussion is a common injury in kids. Here are some tips to decrease the risk concussion for your child:

  • Follow the rules of the game and the rules of the road. They are there for everyone’s safety.
  • Familiarize yourself and your loved ones with the signs and symptoms of a concussion. Keep in mind that signs and symptoms vary widely and may appear up to 48 hours following the injury.
  • Have an open and frank discussion with your children about concussions and the urgency of reporting them.
  • If you think that a person may have suffered a concussion, you should immediately remove the person from the activity and ensure that they are assessed by a health care provider.

At Home

Falls at home are one of the most common causes of concussion in young children.

  • Watch young children closely.
  • Use safety products such as window guards and safety gates where appropriate.
  • Use non-slip mats in high traffic areas like the kitchen and bathroom.

At Play

Help reduce the likelihood of injury during sports, recreation and unstructured play.

  • Encourage children to learn proper sports skills and techniques to protect themselves.
  • Ensure children wear the proper and correctly fitted protective equipment.
  • Choose a playground with a deep soft surface.
  • Keep children under five years of age from equipment higher than 1.5 metres (5 feet)
  • Talk to the coach and find out if they have a concussion identification and management protocol. If the coach doesn’t know, approach the sport association and suggest developing a protocol. The Porcupine Health Unit can help sport and recreation organizations to develop a comprehensive concussion protocol.

On the Road

While riding in a car:

  • Use the correct car or booster seat for the size and age of your child.
  • Ensure the car or booster seat is properly installed.
  • Visit one of our free car seat inspection clinics.

While walking:

  • Take the time to teach your children how to cross the road safely.
  • Walk on the sidewalks or paths. Where none exist, walk facing the traffic.
  • Phone down, heads up when walking.
  • Teach kids to be alert and always make eye contact with drivers when crossing a road.

While cycling or doing other wheeled activities (e.g., skateboard, scooter):

  • Teach your child appropriate hand signals, staying on the right side of the road, stopping at all stop signs and respecting other traffic signals.
  • Ensure the bicycle is adjusted to the recommended height of your child. Remember to check the ABCs (air pressure, brakes and chain).
  • Wear a properly fitted helmet and any safety gear such as reflectors and bell.
  • Ensure your child’s helmet is properly secured using the 2-V-1 rule.
  • Model the behaviour you want your child to adopt by wearing a helmet when doing activities such as biking, snowboarding, etc.