Graphic: Silhouette of a child in profile, with an illustration of the brain.
TBI is an injury caused by a blow, jolt, or penetrating object that disrupts normal functioning of the brain.
CDC reports that more than 2.8 million U.S. people sustain a TBI each year; of those, more than 55,000 die and more than 280,000 are hospitalized.1
TBI can be mild to severe.
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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.2
All TBI can seriously affect a child’s daily life.
Graphic: Silhouettes of children in profile, each containing an icon representing different brain functions that can be affected by TBI: Dialog bubbles representing speech, left and right arrows representing movement and mobility, gears representing thinking and memory, and a smiley face and a frowning face representing personality or mood.
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. are1
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About half of brain injuries in children are caused by falls from objects like stairs and bicycles.
Unintentional blunt trauma
Graphic: Illustration of a ball hitting a child in the head.
28% 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
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Car accidents are the number one cause of TBI-related death in children older than age 5.
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Homicide is the #1 cause of TBI-related death in children age 4 and younger.
Take the following actions to reduce the risk of TBI in children.
Graphic: Illustration of a child wearing a seat belt.
Use a child safety seat or a seat belt when the child is in a motor vehicle.
Graphic: Illustration of a child riding a bicycle and wearing a helmet.
Make sure the child wears a helmet when riding a bicycle, skateboarding, and playing sports like hockey and football.
Graphic: An illustration of a baby on hands and knees, with a gate behind him.
Install window guards and stair safety gates at home.
Graphic: Illustration of an adult holding a baby in the air.
Avoid shaking your baby. Learn how to prevent shaken baby syndrome.3
NICHD supports research to better understand and find safe and effective treatment options for TBI. To learn more, visit: https://www.nichd.nih.gov/health/topics/tbi.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2019). TBI: Get the Facts.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. (2003). Report to Congress on mild traumatic brain injury in the United States: Steps to prevent a serious public health problem.
- National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. (2019). Shaken Baby Syndrome Information Page. inds.nih.gov/Disorders/ All-Disorders/Shaken-Baby-Syndrome-Information-Page
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