How to prevent head injuries in children

​A preventative approach is the best way to deal with head injuries. Research shows that most brain injuries are predictable and preventable. The following preventative measures are mandatory in Ontario and other provinces in Canada.

  • Always secure your child in a child safety seat, booster seat or seat belt while in the car.
  • Make sure your child wears a helmet when riding on a motorcycle.

Always wear a helmet during sports and activities

Make sure your child is wearing a helmet when:

  • riding a bike, snowmobile or all-terrain vehicle
  • playing a contact sport such as football, ice hockey or boxing
  • using in-line skates or riding a skateboard
  • riding scooters or anything with wheels
  • batting and running bases in baseball or softball
  • riding a horse
  • skiing or snowboarding.

Ensure safety inside and outside the home

  • Install window guards to keep young children from falling out of open windows.
  • Use safety gates at the top and bottom of stairs.
  • Remove tripping hazards such as small area rugs and loose electrical cords.
  • Use non-slip mats in the bathtub and on shower floors.
  • Make sure the surface of your child's playground is made of shock-absorbing material such as mulch, pea gravel or rubber.

Key points

  • Prevention is the best way to protect against head injuries.
  • Wearing helmets during a sporting activity greatly reduces the chance of getting a head injury.
  • Installing window guards, non-slip floor mats and safety gates prevent head injuries from occurring inside the home.

​Anne-Marie Guerguerian, MD, FAAP, FRCPC
Andrew Howard, MD, FRCSC, MSc
Abhaya V Kulkarni, MD, PhD, FRCSC
Dorothy McDowell, RN, BScN, CNN(C)