The Risk of Brain Injuries Shifts as Children Mature

It is common for kids to fall, get bruises, and even break a bone or two during childhood, but head trauma continues to be the leading cause of death or disability for children over the age of one. The types of head injuries sustained during childhood often correspond to the developmental stage that the child is in when the injury occurred. The effects of brain injury may also hinge on the developmental stage of the child.

Injury to a Developing Brain

According to the Brain Injury Association of America, a child’s brain continues to develop through adolescence. Thus, a child or adolescent may respond differently to a traumatic brain injury than an adult. Injuries can result in mild or severe trauma, and recovery for a child can be difficult to predict. The part of the brain that was injured and how the injury occurred factor into the types of symptoms and recovery the child will have.

Symptoms of a Brain Injury

For a child, a brain injury can result in physical, emotional, social, and cognitive side effects. Some may be immediately obvious, but others can be subtle and will require careful observation.

Common reactions to a brain injury can include:

  • Sudden disorientation
  • Irritability
  • Inability to concentrate
  • A slowed response
  • Headaches
  • Affected motor skills
  • Impaired perception
  • Depression or anxiety
  • Slurred speech
  • Fatigue
  • Poor balance
  • Trouble controlling emotions

Injuries and Developmental Stages

As children grow, the types of activities they participate in changes. Thus, the nature of any brain injury usually shifts depending upon the developmental stage the child is in when the injury occurs. Babies and toddlers typically experience head injuries due to tumbles down stairs or falls from climbing, walking, and running. Children from two to twelve experience head injuries from falls, roughhousing, or from accidentally being hit in the head.

The nature of head injuries changes as a child enters adolescence. Teenagers participate in different activities and social interactions than their younger counterparts. Teens are more likely to suffer a brain injury due to assault, a sports injury, or a vehicle accident.


Many accidents can be avoided by utilizing safety measures. Car seats and safety belts reduce the chance of injury during vehicle accidents. Baby gates to block babies and toddlers from stairs can prevent harmful falls down stairs. Necessary safety gear, such as bike helmets, can protect a youngster’s growing brain.

The Bottom Line

An injury to a developing brain can have devastating consequences. Sometimes the effects of a brain injury may not even be identified until adulthood when cognitive or mental deficits become apparent. If your child has experienced a head injury due to someone’s negligence and you are concerned about traumatic brain damage, seek medical attention.

You should then call the Bottaro Law Firm, LLC or fill out our online contact form, and someone will contact you immediately about your specific circumstances. The experienced attorneys at the Bottaro Law Firm, LLC understand the impact a head injury can have on a developing child. They are ready to fight for your child’s future today.