TBI is an injury caused by a blow, jolt, or penetrating object that disrupts normal functioning of the brain.
1.7 million people in the United States sustain a TBI each year; of those, 50,000 die and more than 250,000 are hospitalized.
TBI can be mild to severe. Severe TBI can lead to permanent disability and even death.
75% of brain injuries are mild (not life-threatening). Concussion is a type of mild TBI.
All types of TBI can seriously affect a child's daily life. Brain injury can cause problems with speaking or understanding, movement or mobility, thinking or memory, and personality or mood.
The leading causes of TBI in the U.S. are
55% of brain injuries in children are caused by falls from objects like stairs and bicycles.
Unintentional blunt trauma
24% of brain injuries in children are caused by being hit in the head with an object, like a baseball or soccer ball.
Motor vehicle crashes
Car accidents are the number one cause of TBI-related death in children older than age 5.
Assault (e.g., physical abuse) is the number one cause of TBI-related death in children age four and younger.
Take the following actions to reduce the risk of TBI in children:
- Use a child safety seat or a seat belt when the child is in a motor vehicle.
- Make sure the child wears a helmet when riding a bicycle, skateboarding, and playing sports like hockey and football.
- Install window guards and stair safety gates at home.
- Avoid shaking your baby. Learn how to prevent
shaken baby syndrome.
NICHD supports research to better understand and find safe and efficient treatment options for TBI. To learn more, visit: