Road Safety Week Blog
Unlike illnesses and medical conditions, brain injuries caused by road crashes can be avoided
Today marks the start of Child Brain Injury Trust’s Be Seen, Not Hurt campaign. In this blog stakeholder communications coordinator Gayle Baird talks about the impact road crashes has on children and the families they support.
Autumn is well and truly here. For us all at the Child Brain Injury Trust thoughts turn to the changing seasons, the darker conditions and the impact this may have on the number of children we see with an acquired brain injury.
The Child Brain Injury Trust works with children across the UK who have an acquired brain injury (ABI). An ABI can happen in many ways including stroke, illnesses, and brain tumours, or as the result of an accident around the home, school or sports field. In the year March 2015 to March 2016 road traffic related collisions accounted for almost 20% of new referrals. Unlike illnesses and medical conditions many of these situations could have been avoided. Prevention messaging is an important part of the Trust’s work and talking to children and young people in school is vital. We talk about what your brain does and how you can protect it, we do experiments with eggs and crash helmets and have a jelly brain that children can touch.
Now it its fourth year our annual Be Seen Not Hurt campaign aims to highlight the importance of being visible to other road users. October is also International Walk to School month, when many schools organise walking buses and activities related to this, so visibility is a key message.
A recent UK study of head injuries in children found that of those who had been injured through motor vehicle related incidents the majority (70%) were pedestrians, just under 9% were cyclists and a further 21% were in the vehicle at the time. The study, carried out in winter, also revealed that the peak time for incidents was between 4pm and 8pm(1).
The British Summer Time has just ended and everyone will be making their way to and from school in darker conditions. We want to ensure children and young people know to Be Seen, Not Hurt. We run activities in schools across the UK to encourage children to think about how they can contribute to road safety. The sessions also look at the human brain, what it does and why it is amazing. We talk about brain injury and the impact it can have on the lives of the children we support. This year the week kicks off today (Monday 30 October) and finishes with Glow Day on Friday 3 November.
The Child Brain Injury Trust offers support to hundreds of children and young people whose lives have been impacted by brain injury. We have a team of Child and Family Support Coordinators who cover the whole of the UK -offering support to the parents primarily, both emotionally and practically. Support can be initiated from the hospital ward and continues throughout their child’s stay in hospital, through to discharge home and eventually returning to education. Our brains don’t finish developing until our early 20’s and we can continue to support someone until their 23rd Birthday. Our staff can offer support to the wider family too, with siblings sessions to help understand brain injury and why their brother or sister may be different after they were injured. Clearly education is a big part of children’s lives and so we work very closely with our colleagues in the education sector to ensure the best outcome for young people.
We also offer specialist training to professionals who are involved in supporting children with an acquired brain injury. You can access a lot of factsheets alongside a range of e-learning sessions on our website.
The Child Brain Injury Trust and Brake recently ran an e-learning presentation called Let’s talk about road safety, which is freely available here.
(1) Trefan L, Houston R, Pearson G, et al Epidemiology of children with head injury: a national overview. Archives of Disease in Childhood 2016;101:527-532.
A very interesting article. As a driving instructor in Gloucester I often see pedestrians walking out at crossings without even looking. A lot of people walk out because cars are stationary in some lanes and the pedestrians fail to realise the filter lane has a green light. More education is needed in schools I think.