Preventing a minor head injury 

Many head injuries are the result of accidents that are difficult to predict or avoid. But there are ways to reduce your risk.

Safety helmets

Cyclists and motorcyclists can protect their heads by wearing a properly fitting safety helmet. British Standard safety helmets are a legal requirement for motorcyclists.

Research commissioned by the Department for Transport found bicycle helmets "should be effective at reducing the risk of head injury".

However, it's difficult to know the benefit of cycle helmets for certain. This is because data about road accidents involving cyclists may not contain all of the relevant information.

For example, the data may not explain where exactly the head injury occurred, which makes it difficult to determine whether a helmet might have prevented the injury.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE)The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) and the World Health Organization (WHO) all support the use of cycle helmets, and suggest they may help reduce head injuries.

As well as wearing a helmet when cycling, you should also make sure both you and your children:

  • use lights and wear reflective clothing when cycling in the dark
  • are aware of the dangers of the road and know how to stay safe
  • always follow the Highway Code
  • check bikes are in good working order

Read more cycling safety advice.

Safety in the home

Following sensible health and safety guidelines can help prevent accidents in the home. Advice that will help keep your home and garden as safe as possible includes:

  • keeping stairways tidy so you don't trip over anything
  • using appropriate safety equipment if you're doing any kind of DIY
  • not standing on an unstable chair to change a light bulb – use a stepladder instead
  • cleaning up any spillages to prevent someone slipping over

For more information, see the RoSPA website.

Childproofing your home

It's not possible to childproof your home completely. But you can take steps to keep toddlers and young children safe at home:

  • check windows are lockable and can't be opened by your child, particularly bedroom windows
  • move furniture, such as beds, sofas and chairs, away from windows to prevent your child climbing up and falling out 
  • fit safety gates at the top and bottom of stairs

Read more about preventing accidents to children in the home and teaching your child to stay safe.

Safety at work

To reduce the risk of sustaining a head injury at work, always follow any necessary health and safety guidelines. For example, you may have to wear a hard hat when working in potentially hazardous areas.

Only use ladders in a workplace environment for short-term light work. Any work that requires spending a considerable amount of time at height or involves heavy lifting should be carried out on scaffolding or another suitable platform.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) provides more information about the correct use of ladders in the workplace, including a list of common tasks that involve working at height.

Any work that involves going up on to a roof should also be considered high risk, and high standards of safety are therefore essential.

Sport safety

Wear any necessary safety equipment when playing sports, particularly contact sports. Don't play any contact sports for at least three weeks after a minor head injury without talking to your doctor first.

Page last reviewed: 25/09/2015

Next review due: 31/03/2018