A traumatic brain injury often results in long-term and wide-ranging disabilities. The medical issues that arise from a TBI can permanently impact an individual’s quality of life and lead to financial issues because of medical bills and lost wages.

These safety steps can help protect you and your loved ones from experiencing a TBI.

Use your seat belt

Proper restraint in a motor vehicle can prevent head injury in a collision. Adults and teens should always wear a seat belt, and younger children should be in an appropriate booster seat or safety seat for their size and height. Motor vehicle accidents are one of the most common TBI causes.

Wear a helmet 

Both adults and children should wear a correctly fitted helmet with certification from the American Society for Testing and Materials whenever participating in sports. This includes but is not limited to baseball, hockey, cycling, skateboarding, horseback riding and operating an all-terrain vehicle.

Limit fall risk

Older adults are vulnerable to TBI caused by a fall in the home. Help your senior family members by removing loose rugs, wires, clutter and other items that pose a fall risk. Make sure your loved one has an eye exam and an updated glasses prescription. Be aware of medications that may make him or her feel dizzy, confused or off-balance.

Avoid pedestrian accidents

When walking on a road with traffic, stay on the sidewalk or as far off to the side as possible. Obey all traffic signals, and never cross against the light or in the middle of the road. Make sure drivers can see you, and wear reflective clothing or carry a flashlight when walking at night.

If you or a family member suffers a severe head injury, call 911. Keep the person calm and quiet until medical help arrives, and apply gentle pressure with a clean cloth to slow bleeding. For minor injuries, be aware of behavior changes, vomiting, nausea, confusion or other signs that he or she may need immediate medical attention.