Dr. Kate Labiner on Kids’ Brains and Roller Coasters

by ih-chi admin

Summer is just around the corner, and amusement parks are calling.

While riding a roller coaster is a total thrill for teenagers and even young kids, it’s sheer terror for others. The rush of endorphins surrounding an experience like this triggers excitement for many, but it can also bring on anxiety (in the rider’s parents too) … perhaps about the fear of heights, falling out, or getting hurt.

Getting hurt is a valid concern when strapped into a roller coaster. One part of the body that gets jostled around more than you’d think is the brain.

Could these super-fast, and whiplash-inducing thrill rides cause concussions, or some other type of brain damage in kids?

Child Neurology Consultants' Dr. Kate Labiner recently commented on this for popular media outlet Romper.com about what happens to a child’s brain when riding a roller coaster. "There is nothing about a roller coaster in itself which is dangerous to the developing brain. However, there are many reports of children, and even adults, getting concussions from riding on roller coasters."

While the rates of concussion are very low (according to the CDC), it is something to be aware of if your children or teens ride one. Dr. Labiner says, “the large roller coasters, with lots of high altitudes, back and forth motions, or jerky movements, are the more ‘risky’ roller coasters due to the potential for whiplash injuries which can lead to a concussion."

If your child complains of a headache or mentions any other pain after an amusement park ride, take notes on their behavior, and then seek medical help if the pain doesn’t subside right away – especially if involving the head or neck.

For questions or concerns about concussions in your child or teenager, please contact us to make an appointment with one of our pediatric neurology specialists.

The complete article featuring Dr. Labiner can be found here.