Advertisement

What should I do if my child gets a head injury?

Chances are, your child is going to spend some time (other than Halloween) looking like a unicorn—with a prominent bump on his head. Many times, that's okay; the goose-egg swelling is a sign of normal blood clotting beneath the skin at the site of the head injury.

Nevertheless, you'll need to keep a close eye on your child during the forty-eight hours after a head injury because it can take that much time for damaged veins to leak and cause swelling in the brain. You may also want to see a doc to rule out a skull fracture, because a fracture can tear underlying blood vessels and place a lot of pressure on the brain. Because the skull-encased brain has nowhere to expand when it gets inflamed, an untreated skull fracture can lead to decreased brain function.

YOU: Raising Your Child: The Owner's Manual from First Breath to First Grade

More About this Book

YOU: Raising Your Child: The Owner's Manual from First Breath to First Grade

There’s little doubt that parenting can be one of the most rewarding and satisfying experiences you’ll ever have. But it can be plenty tough, too: Around the clock, you’re working to keep your...

The first (and most important) thing to do when a child experiences a head injury, is to make sure they do not have signs of serious neck or spinal injury or brain bleed. Signs of neck injury include neck pain and numbness, tingling or weakness in the arms. If they cannot move an arm or leg or seem very weak, call 911 and don’t allow them to move. Signs of brain bleed might include decreasing level of alertness, very severe headache, repetitive vomiting, extreme confusion or disorientation. If a child is hard to wake or unconscious after an injury, or if they don’t seem alert enough to make eye contact and respond to you, call 911. Any kids with these signs of neck injury or brain bleed need to be seen by a healthcare professional as soon as possible, most likely in the emergency department of a hospital.

If the child does not show signs of neck or spinal injury or brain bleed, then they should be encouraged to rest and be observed by an adult to make sure they don’t develop any of those signs. If you think your child may have a concussion, you should contact your primary care provider as soon as possible to discuss your child’s symptoms.

Continue Learning about Head Injuries

Your Child Has a Concussion. Now What?
Your Child Has a Concussion. Now What?
With a new school year, your kids may be excited about the start of football, soccer, or lacrosse season. But popular contact sports like these come w...
Read More
What is a concussion?
Diana MeeksDiana Meeks
A concussion is a minor injury to the brain, which usually results from some type of trauma to the h...
More Answers
Recognizing Concussion Symptoms in Your Child
Recognizing Concussion Symptoms in Your ChildRecognizing Concussion Symptoms in Your ChildRecognizing Concussion Symptoms in Your ChildRecognizing Concussion Symptoms in Your Child
Don't let hard head hits go unnoticed with these expert tips.
Start Slideshow
Protect Your Noggin With a Bike Helmet
Protect Your Noggin With a Bike Helmet

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.