Spinal Injuries in Children

When someone suffers a Spinal Cord Injury (SCI), it can be life changing in the extreme. Adaptations have to be made to the person’s home, by their family, at their workplace.

If it is a child, not only can the injury itself be more difficult to diagnose, but the necessary changes can be more wide-ranging or complex.

Just one example of the difficulties faced by a family when a child sustains a SCI is the emotional suffering. Not only is the patient trying to come to terms with their injury – and often this patient is too young to properly understand – but the parents have to support them through this whilst also grieving for the experiences that they feel their child has now lost.

Causes of SCI in children

Somewhere between 2% and 5% of all SCIs occur in children, the result – predominantly – of road traffic accidents, and sports injuries. Nothing can compensate for the loss of sensation and movement that can accompany a SCI, but the experienced team of solicitors at Aspire Law may be able to help you claim some financial compensation.

This money can help with the home adaptations or daily care that a child may require after sustaining a SCI.

Signs of SCI in children

As mentioned, the occurrence and extent of a SCI in a child can be hard to diagnose, and the younger a child is, the more difficult it can become. Some signs include:

  • flaccid extremities.
  • paralysis.
  • numbness or parasthesias (the sensation of burning or tingling).
  • weakness or paresis (a slight or incomplete paralysis).
  • priapism (persistent, prolonged, and usually painful erection).
  • incontinence of bowel or bladder.

 

Reasons for difficulty with diagnosing SCI in children

It may seem strange to talk about spinal injuries in children separately from those which occur in adults, but there are several reasons a doctor might do so, for example:

A child has a greater head size, relative to their body. This can mean a greater force exerted on the neck if the head is subject to a sudden movement – such as in a RTA.

Children have – put very simply – ‘softer’ bones. What this can mean is that when a force is applied to the spine, damage can occur to the spinal cord, yet the flexibility of the spine itself means that there is no damage to the bones. This is sometimes called SCIWORA – Spinal Cord Injury without Radiographic Abnormality.

If a child in your life has sustained a spinal injury, don’t be afraid to ask questions of doctors, or of a charity like Aspire.