AKRON – With the support of a five-year, $400,000 grant from the Ohio Department of Health, Akron Children’s Hospital will launch an injury prevention program to prevent traumatic brain injury (TBI) in Summit County children.
The cause of TBI in childhood tends to vary based on age, and the program will address several of the most common causes, such as falls and unsafe sleeping environments for babies and toddlers, bicycle and pedestrian accidents for adolescents, and sports-related head injuries for teens.
“This grant truly gives us the opportunity to save kids from injury and even save lives,” said Heather Wuensch, director of Community Benefit, Advocacy and Outreach for Akron Children’s. “Summit County has a number of resources addressing child safety and injury prevention, but now we will have the funding to bring all of these experts and resources together in a meaningful way to focus on education and the prevention of childhood traumatic brain injury.”
The grant proposal calls for:
An assessment of Ohio Trauma Registry and Summit County ER data provided rich information used to determine the grant focus.
From 2008-2012, Akron Children’s provided care to more than 1,800 children under the age of 18 diagnosed with TBI. The data showed the highest rates of injury were caused by:
While 31 percent of the falls were simple falls, such as children running and tripping, others occurred in ways that could be prevented as a result of education or other interventions. These include the falls caused by children falling down stairs (18 percent); off a coach or bed (12 percent); out of a car or bouncy seat (8 percent); out of a shopping cart, wagon, walker or stroller (7 percent); off a counter or changing table (9 percent) or out of a second-story window (6 percent).
“Akron Children’s and Summit County are well suited to make a difference in preventing TBI,” said Wuensch. “We have the clinicians to help kids heal, but also have a wide spectrum of support services and advocacy programs that address the developmental, social, and emotional needs of children who suffer brain injuries. As the saying goes, ‘it takes a village’ and our village is just getting started.”