Ounce of Prevention

I Lobe You Forever

Parents, we know you love some parts of your child but we want to know if you love all the parts of your child.

Of course you love their cute little nose, their dimpled cheeks, their fingers and their toes, and their belly button. You gush when they laugh and relish those inhalations after a nighttime bath.

But what about those parts you can’t see? What about those parts that, no matter what, just aren’t adorable? It’s difficult to melt over a spleen or a lung, we know. Here’s the thing though you need to love your entire child, not just their cute parts.

Now, who the heck are we to suggest that you don’t love every bit of your child? Well, we are the ones who saw you last Sunday afternoon at the rink for family skate. You saw that your child was smiling and holding your hand. We saw that there was nothing between their frontal lobe and the ice but a 1-centimetre thick piece of bone.

A child’s brain is developing rapidly as they grow. The front part of the brain – the part that would likely meet the ice first – has been implicated in planning complex cognitive behaviors, personality expression, decision making and moderating correct social behavior.1 The basic activity of this brain region is considered to be orchestration of thoughts and actions in accordance with internal goals.2 This is not something to take lightly.

“A Childhood Brain Injury is not a single one time event, a brain injury is forever”.
Brain Injury Association of Canada
According to McGeehan, Shields, and Smith’s study in 2004, the proportion of head injuries among ice-skaters was greater than that observed for participants in other types of skating, for which helmet use is recommended and often required. They suggest that children should wear a helmet during recreational ice-skating.

In a further study in 2005, Knox and Comstock demonstrated that a greater proportion of falls in ice skating resulted in the head striking the skating surface than did those in roller/inline skating. They suggest that because ice skating takes place on a low friction surface, attempts to break falls with the arms or hands are often unsuccessful, leading to head and face injuries.

Some places have instituted rules about helmet use during public skate like Dalhousie University but many places do not. Do you need to wait for legislation to make healthy choices to protect the future of your child and all the potential they have right now to be caring, contributing members of society? We hope not, after all, you love them right?

If you are like most parents today you wouldn’t dream of letting your elementary school-aged child walk to school on their own even if you live a block away. You put them in car seats and booster seats at the right weights/heights. You silently chastise a parent who smokes within a 50-metre radius of their child. You take your child to ballet, karate, guitar lessons, soccer, tennis and swim lessons to ensure they are well-rounded individuals.

So why then, do you take your beautiful child to the skating rink for pleasure and expose their frontal lobe, their health and future potential to the risk of injury?

Make a promise today to show your child how much you love their lobe and fit them in a CSA certified ice skating helmet. It’s designed to protect the important, albeit not so cute, parts that make your child so precious.

While you are at it why not set a good example and wear a helmet too.

References and Resources:

1. Yang Y, Raine A (November 2009). “Prefrontal structural and functional brain imaging findings in antisocial, violent, and psychopathic individuals: a meta-analysis”. Psychiatry Res 174 (2): 81–8. doi:10.1016/j.pscychresns.2009.03.012. PMID 19833485.

2. Miller EK, Freedman DJ, Wallis JD (August 2002). “The prefrontal cortex: categories, concepts and cognition”. Philos. Trans. R. Soc. Lond., B, Biol. Sci. 357 (1424): 1123–36. doi:10.1098/rstb.2002.1099. PMID 12217179.

3. C L Knox, R D Comstock. Video analysis of falls experienced by paediatric iceskaters and roller/inline skaters. Br J Sports Med 2006;40:268-271 doi:10.1136/bjsm.2005.022855. http://bjsm.bmj.com/content/40/3/268.abstract

4. http://healthycanadians.gc.ca/kids/injury-prevention/

5. Jennifer McGeehan, MPH, Brenda J. Shields, MS, Gary A. Smith, MD, DrPH Children Should Wear Helmets While Ice-Skating: A Comparison of Skating-Related Injuries. PEDIATRICS Vol. 114 No. 1 July 2004, pp. 124-128 http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/cgi/content/abstract/114/1/124

6. http://biac-aclc.ca/en/2010/06/16/children-and-brain-injury/

7. Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Mandatory Helmet Use for Skating At Dalhousie Memorial Arena http://athletics.dal.ca/content/dam/dalhousie/pdf/athletics/recreation/Helmet%20mandatory%20use%20FAQs%20Nov%202009%20(final%20-%20revised%20Oct.%2029%202010).pdf

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Injury Prevention Team