What do we know about toddlers and concussions ~ Concussion can cause lower IQ scores that persist for years after injury.

July 08, 2021, Kitchener, Ontario

Posted by: Robert Deutschmann, Personal Injury Lawyer

Two Children Running on RoadUntil recently it was believed that concussion in young children was not a serious concern because their brains were still growing and ‘elastic’ and that if there was damage it would quickly repair and reroute pathways to repair itself. We now know that this isn’t true.
Much of the diagnosis of concussion relies on self-reporting of symptoms. This leaves parents and healthcare providers with a problem. How does one determine if a toddler has a headache, or is dizzy, or is nauseated or has some other symptoms?

We have all seen our own young children, or others’ children, learning to walk take huge tumbles whacking their heads on tables, floors, chairs or stairs. They cry and scream, but how can you attribute the reaction to concussion or pain?

It seems a team of researchers at Universite de Montreal have been researching this problem, are developing a tool to detect concussion in preverbal children. They developed a unique observational tool that was given to parents to answer. The questions included “Is the baby in your arms more often?”, “Is the child comfort-seeking?”, “has behaviour or sleeping regressed?”. Using this questionnaire the researchers are able to track the progression of symptoms and their severity. However, it remains difficult to separate normal behaviours for the age group from concussion symptoms since young children have poor impulse control and behaviours are not well established and can easily be upset by many influences. Their research was published in the Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation.

In a separate journal article titled “Long-Term Intellectual Function After Traumatic Brain Injury in Very Young Children

“ the researchers examined 50 children under the age of 3 who had been diagnosed with accidental TBI. The children were tracked over a period of years and compared to a control group. The results of the study are concerning as “Q scores for all groups were in the average range; however, children with TBI of any severity had lower scores than TDC (typically developing children) at both time points. There was some suggestion of children with TBI achieving lower verbal IQ scores over time than TDC. IQ scores were predicted by family environment, not injury characteristics.


A TBI in early childhood is associated with lower IQ scores that persist several years post-injury. Socioeconomic status is an influential factor on IQ at 6.5 years post-TBI.”

Posted under Accident Benefit News, Brain Injury

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Deutschmann Law serves South-Western Ontario with offices in Kitchener-Waterloo, Cambridge, Woodstock, Brantford, Stratford and Ayr. The law practice of Robert Deutschmann focuses almost exclusively in personal injury and disability insurance matters. For more information, please visit www.deutschmannlaw.com or call us toll-free at 1-866-414-4878.

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