Worried Your Kid Hit Their Head? Here’s What to Do
If your child hits their head, it can be a scary experience. You may not know what to do or how to help them. In this blog post, we will discuss the steps you should take if your child suffers a head impact. We will also talk about the signs and symptoms of child head trauma, and when you should seek medical attention.
What are head injuries?
It’s not uncommon for a child or teen to bump their head, but depending on the impact there can be a few different areas of injury. It can be a scalp injury, or cause skull, brain or blood vessel damage. They can be very mild and resolve themselves quickly, or need more immediate medical attention such as in the case of a concussion. Most kid head bumps are mild and won’t injure the brain.
Concussion, Contusion and Fracture Head Injuries
The basic types of head injuries are concussion, contusions, and fractures. A concussion is a mild traumatic brain injury which is caused by a force that forcefully moves the head back and forth, sometimes causing damage to brain cells.
Contusions are the result of injury to the skin and soft tissue underneath the skin. Blood vessels may leak which cause purple or red marking on the skin. These more frequently occur on the scalp or forehead, though if it’s a more serious injury a brain contusion can occur.
Skull fractures are the breaking of the skull bone, and can happen in various parts of the skull.
What do I do after my kid hits their head?
The first thing you should do if your kid hits their head is stay calm. It can be difficult to see your child in pain, but it is important to remain calm and assess the situation so you can best help them. If your child is bleeding or has a visible injury, you should seek medical attention immediately. If there is no visible injury, you can check for signs of concussion. These include dizziness, headache, nausea, vomiting, confusion, and fatigue. If your child is displaying any of these symptoms, you should take them to the hospital for further evaluation, as leaving a concussion untreated can lead to serious complications.
If your child hits their head and does not have any visible injuries or concussion symptoms, you can monitor them at home. You should watch for any changes in their behavior or mood, and if they seem to be in pain, you can give them over-the-counter pain medication. If your child’s symptoms worsen or they develop new symptoms, you should seek medical attention.
If your child is an infant you should call your health provider right away if they have a head injury. It’s also important to get medical attention immediately if they lose consciousness at all, or don’t talk or walk normally.
Treating a Mild Head Injury
If they have no concerning symptoms you can use an ice pack or instant cold pack on the injured area for 20 minutes every few hours. You can also use ice, but be sure to wrap it in a washcloth so as not to put ice directly on the skin.You can also take over-the-counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen to help reduce pain and swelling. Drink lots of fluids and get plenty of rest to help your body heal. Most head injuries can be treated at home.
Keep an eye on your child over the next 24 hours, and if the injury happened close to bedtime or naptime and they fall asleep, keep checking in on them as they are sleeping. You don’t have to keep your child awake if there arent any serious signs or symptoms.
Preventing a Head Injury
You can’t prevent all injuries from happening throughout a kids life, but you can make an effort to prevent head injuries. The most important thing to do is to childproof your home, since this is the area a kid will spend the most time.
Make sure kids are always wearing a well-fitting bike helmet while biking, skating, skateboarding, or other sports activity with a lot of motion. It’s also important to wear any and all proper protective equipment in contact sports. Using a child safety seatbelt, or a car seat configured in the right way is important every time a child is in the car.
If they do have a head injury take it easy afterwards until a doctor gives the OK to returning to rough play or sports. After a con