More pediatric brain injuries occur in home than on playing field, new study finds

About 29% of traumatic brain injuries kids occur while playing sports such as football and soccer. But you might be surprised to learn that most children and adolescents injure their heads in places you think are safe. And the most dangerous places may be in your home.

A little hug and kiss and 5-year old Stephania Otiko is off and running...just having fun.

Then it happens. She slips and falls on a loose rug. Her mom calls her daughter a "boo-boo collector."

Ekaterina Otiko said, "She trips, she falls, she cuts, she scratches and she bumps into things."

You might think most head injuries in kids happen while playing sports, but a new study in the journal Brain Injury found most incidents requiring medical attention occur in and around the home.

"About 20% of them are related to environmental issues like uneven flooring," said Dr. Martin Mortazavi with the California Institute of Neuroscience.

Mortazavi said other head injury causes include kids falling out of bunk beds, ungated stairs and tripping over electrical wiring.

He said, "Now this cord is loose. Now imagine this cord is plugged in and imagine now the elimination of the lighting."

Yes, poor lighting is another reason children trip and fall. Mortazavi said infants also fall out of unbuckled car seats in the house. And beware of heavy objects on tables.

"A baby comes here and tries to open this drawer and it moves and moves and eventually a heavy object can fall down on the baby," Mortazavi said.

About 3% percent of injuries happen because of toys such as scooters and skateboards, but they don't all happen outside. Beware of where your kids store them because it's usually on the floor.

Mortazavi said, "That's a problem."

The solution? Clear your house of falling hazards. Get rid of bunk beds or make sure the railings are secure and see that area rugs don't move.

"This is great because it's firm on the floor, it doesn't move," Mortazavi said, "a loose rug like this is dangerous."

Stephania tripped on the same rug twice. Her mom now knows to get rid of it and to keep a close eye on her daughter.

Fortunately, Stephania's boo-boo is on her hand and not her head.
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