Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) have had a peek over the last years, according to a report published on Monday by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The study found that the TBI among children increased steadily since 2001 and most of them were related to playground injuries.

Researchers examined data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System from 2001 to 2013 and found that about 21,000 children in a yearly average, ages 14 and younger, had TBI. Mostly boys, 33.5 percent at places of recreation or sports and more commonly in playground gyms and swings, according to the study published in Pediatrics.

A study found that most of the TBI among children  were related to playground injuries. Photo credit: Houston New Moms
A study found that most of the TBI among children were related to playground injuries. Photo credit: Houston New Moms

The team concluded that there was a significant growth in the average of children treated with TBI through the years, where at the end of 2013 this were 30,000 when the average from other years were 21,000.

“Playgrounds remain an important location of injury risk to children. Strategies to reduce the incidence and severity of playground-related TBIs are needed,” authors wrote in the study. “These may include improved adult supervision, methods to reduce child risk behavior, regular equipment maintenance, and improvements in playground surfaces and environments,” they added.

From the children injured, only 3 percent of them were hospitalized or transferred elsewhere for additional treatment, most were just sent home after emergency treatment, according to the study.

Symptoms from the concussions in the studied children were not listed, but according to the CDC this can cause impaired thinking or memory, movement, sensation or emotional functioning. The fatal cases were not accounted in this study, only the surviving ones.

Still an important issue

Even though authorities have urged to make playground safer for kids, the study proved that the injuries from this places are still significant for children and are mostly the cause for the TBI in them. Sports are not the only important cause of concussions and other traumatic brain injuries for children, said Jeneita Bell, a CDC brain injury specialist who co-wrote the study.

Besides adult supervision in playgrounds, researchers recommended to make sure that the equipment in the place was in good condition and that ground surfaces use a soft material, including wood chips or sand, rather than concrete, as reported by the Washington Post.

Source: Pediatrics