Monday, May 20, 2013

Seizures and Head Protection: BUYING A SEIZURE HELMET


I often get a question about helmets for children with seizures. The scariest seizures are drop seizures or  astatic seizures but generalized tonic clonic seizures can also cause injury. Its important to realize that with or without a helmet;  on or off medicines... accidental injury is more common in people with epilepsy.

Seizures and Head Protection: BUYING A SEIZURE HELMET

The doctor or another health care professional has just advised you to buy a protective helmet because you have been having seizures which have been causing sudden drops or falls that may lead to head injury. But what type of helmet is best? And where you should you go to get one?
To determine the best type of helmet, begin by thinking about your seizure behaviors. If you fall forward, a helmet with a face guard, face bar, or visor is needed. If you fall backward, the back of your head needs protection. A good helmet also needs a chinstrap that can be adjusted so that it is snug but not uncomfortable. No matter what direction you fall, the helmet should absorb the impact, so it will be useless if it does not remain securely on the head.
Not all types of helmets offer adequate protection. Bicycle helmets are comfortable and good-looking, but they do not offer the best protection for injuries from seizure activity. Coverage is insufficient in the back and on the sides of the head. When seizures cause forward falls, they do not protect the face, and if they are not adjusted properly, they move too much. Longevity of the helmet is another problem. With repeated hard falls, a bicycle helmet may crack.
Boxing helmets, made of soft leather, are comfortable but they offer no protection and do not allow adequate ventilation. Football helmets offer good protection but are large and uncomfortable to wear. Baseball batting helmets are loose-fitting and are made without a chinstrap, so they offer inadequate protection.
Suitable helmets are commercially available through sporting good stores, medical supply companies, and the rehabilitation departments of some hospitals. Hockey helmets (CCM and Bauer) are one of the best choices. They offer maximal protection, come in a variety of colors, fit all age groups (except infants) and can be purchased and fitted in any sporting goods store.
Other helmets are made especially to protect people with medical needs, including very small children. Some of them come in choices of style or color that may be more appealing to those who don't want to look like a hockey player.

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