Spinal cord injuries are serious and often life-changing conditions that can affect anyone, including children. According to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center, about 1,000 children under the age of 15 suffer a spinal cord injury each year in the United States.
The most common causes of SCIs in children are motor vehicle accidents, falls, sports injuries and violence.
SCIs can have a significant impact on a child’s physical, mental and emotional development. Depending on the location and severity of the injury, a child may experience partial or complete paralysis, loss of sensation, chronic pain, bladder and bowel dysfunction, respiratory problems and other complications. SCI can also affect a child’s ability to participate in school, social activities, and hobbies.
If you suspect that your child has suffered a spinal cord injury, it is important to seek immediate medical attention. Do not move your child unless absolutely necessary as this may worsen the injury. Call 9-1-1 or take your child to the nearest emergency room. The sooner your child receives treatment, the better the chances of minimizing the damage and preventing further complications.
Signs and symptoms
Some of the signs and symptoms of a SCI in children include difficulty breathing or coughing, loss of movement or feeling in any part of the body or numbness or tingling in the arms, legs, hands or feet. Your child could experience weakness or loss of coordination and severe pain or pressure in the neck, back or head.
They may also have bruising or swelling in the affected area, headaches, nausea, vomiting, dizziness or changes in alertness.
If your child has been diagnosed with a spinal cord injury, you may feel overwhelmed and scared. You will have many questions about your child’s prognosis, treatment options and future quality of life. Ask your doctor, and if needed, get a second or third opinion to ensure that you are comfortable with their treatment.
You may also be worried about the financial and legal implications of your child’s injury. If your child’s injuries were suffered as a result of another’s negligence, then you can sue them and their insurance company to pay for your child’s treatment, as well as any other damages you and your child experienced. Do not let a spinal cord injury ruin your child’s future.