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Helmet Safety: It's More Important Than You Think!

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The following blog post was written by the owner, Jamie Berube, of the Hamilton/Grimsby Wee Piggies & Paws, a company that creates timeless keepsakes of your baby's hands and feet. Jamie and I recently met at the She's Connected Conference in Toronto and we immediately found plenty to talk about. In fact, we skipped one of the conference workshops just to share our stories and ideas. Jamie offered to write a blog for my site about her son. I feel blessed to know Jamie - she's a wonderful mom, business owner and friend! Helmet Safety—It’s More Important Than You Think! Did you know what the leading cause of death and disability worldwide is? It’s brain injury (http://www.internationalbrain.org/?q=brain-injury-facts). My son’s story began when he was just an infant… There’s something wrong with Chase. A mother can sense these things. My son was going through life like every other little boy, but in my heart, I knew that he was different than the other kids his age. I took him to the doctor time and again and expressed my concerns, but the doctor didn’t find anything that he felt was unusual. Then, when Chase was two years old, an optometrist noticed that he had Nystagmus, an involuntary movement of one of his eyes (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nystagmus). Suddenly, there were serious concerns about a potential medical condition. Less than a month after the discovery, we found ourselves meeting with an ophthalmologist at McMaster Children’s Hospital. Although we were nervous, the ophthalmologist was fun and outgoing, and immediately put us at ease. After examining my “average” three year old, the ophthalmologist recommended that an MRI be done as a precaution. It was scheduled for just a few months later. Sedation is never an enjoyable experience for a young child, nor is it easy for the parents.  There are a few different ways to make this successful if a child is not cooperating and, unfortunately, Chase had to have his body wrapped in a blanket with just one arm left out for them to insert the IV.  The first attempt failed.  The second attempt seemed successful at first …  but Chase wouldn’t stop squirming and the IV came out. Another failed attempt. They finally inserted the IV into Chase’s foot. Success. He screamed himself to sleep. As I watched him lay limp in his father’s arms, it was a heart-breaking relief. It seems too much for a child to have to experience. The MRI revealed swollen optic nerves and raised intracranial pressure (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intracranial_pressure) . The emotions were overwhelming. After a rapid journey of additional rounds of anesthetic and tests, the doctors determined that Chase had Craniosynostosis (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Craniosynostosis).  Premature fusion of Chase’s sutras (soft spots) had caused his brain to be compressed. It was the scariest moment of our lives.  Chase was so young. His friends were his doctors and nurses. And he was completely clueless as to what was going on. Since then, Chase has had several pieces of his skull removed so his brain can grow (the procedure is called a “decompressive craniectomy”). Protecting our son’s head has become a huge priority for us. The more regularly Chase is willing to wear a helmet, the safer he is. But how do you make a child as young as 3 years of age (and now 5 years of age) continue to wear a helmet? You make it FUN! Tail Wags Helmet Covers is an easy way to make helmet-wearing fun. Chase goes online and picks his own helmet covers and can now choose which one he would like to wear each day. Chase LOVES his helmet and wears it in the grocery store, at the park, while bike riding, running, going tobogganing, playing at home, etc. It’s a win-win for everyone. Having a head injury is a great reason to protect one’s head. A pro-active approach is even better. As a parent, you want to do everything you can to protect your kids. The best advice that I could give is to proactively approach helmet safety. Learn from our experience of sedations and surgeries and please protect your family.  Buy helmets and make them FUN! We now have three beautiful children, each with a helmet and a handful of Tail-Wags Helmet Covers to choose from. Thank you Tail-Wags for helping us maintain our Helmet Safety Household!

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