Understanding Children’s Head Injuries: Key Points Every Parent Should Know
Author; Helen Barker
As a parent, it’s natural to worry about your child’s safety, especially when it comes to potential head injuries. Accidents can happen, and being informed about children’s head injuries is crucial for quick and appropriate action.
Here are four essential points to keep in mind over the school holidays.
- Preparation and Prevention: Children are naturally active and curious, making them prone to accidents that may result in head injuries. As a parent, we want to encourage safe play whilst ensuring safety; make sure your child wears appropriate protective gear when engaging in sports or activities with a risk of head trauma, such as riding or skating. Check your home or property is safe from sharp edges or falls to minimise the chances of accidents these holidays. Do you have a first aid kit in the home and know what to do if your child injures themselves? Check out our versatile and practical first aid kits here
- Signs and Symptoms: Recognising the signs of a head injury is crucial for prompt medical attention and reducing adverse outcomes. Symptoms to observe after a hit to the head include; headaches, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, changes in behaviour, difficulty walking or balancing, and sensitivity to light or sound. In infants and younger children, signs may be subtler, such as irritability, changes in eating or sleeping patterns, or excessive crying. Any suspicion of a head injury should prompt immediate medical evaluation.
- Seeking Medical Attention: Head injuries in children should never be taken lightly. Even seemingly minor bumps on the head can have hidden complications. If your child experiences a head injury, it’s important to seek medical help promptly. Red flags that indicate you need to seek medical attention ASAP include (but are not limited to) loss of consciousness, an unwitnessed fall, a fall from greater than 1 metre for a baby or double the child’s height if older than 1 year, greater than 1 vomit post the event. While some injuries may only require observation at home, others might need professional assessment, including further imaging tests like CT scans or MRIs, to rule out any serious damage, such as concussions or internal bleeding.
- Recovery and Follow-Up: Following a head injury, your child’s recovery and healing relies heavily on rest, both physically and mentally. Your doctor will provide guidance on when it’s safe for your child to return to normal activities, including sports and school. Be diligent in following their instructions and keep an eye out for any lingering symptoms or changes in behaviour that may require further medical attention. Being informed and proactive about children’s head injuries is essential for protecting your child’s health in case of an injury. Being prepared, recognising symptoms, seeking prompt medical attention, and ensuring proper recovery, all aid in effectively navigating potential head injuries and ensure your child’s safety and well-being.
Handling Head Bumps in children: 4 Key Steps for Parents
As parents, we know that bumps and bruises are an inevitable part of childhood. But when it comes to head bumps, even seemingly minor ones can cause concern. Here are four essential steps to effectively treat your child’s head bump:
- Immediate First Aid: The first thing to do after your child experiences a head bump is to remain calm. Assess the situation and check for any signs of a serious injury. Apply a cold compress or an ice pack wrapped in a cloth to the bump for about 20 minutes to reduce swelling and ease discomfort. Ensure your child rests and keeps still to prevent further injury.
- Monitor for Signs of Concern: Following a head bump, it’s crucial to keep a close eye on your child for any concerning symptoms. Watch for signs such as persistent headache, vomiting, unusual sleepiness, changes in behaviour, or difficulty walking/crawling. If any of these symptoms occur, seek immediate medical attention. Remember, while most bumps resolve on their own, some might hide more severe underlying issues that need professional evaluation.
- Pain Management and Comfort: Your child may experience discomfort or pain after a head bump. Over-the-counter pain relievers like paracetamol (always follow the recommended dosage for your child’s age and weight) can help alleviate pain and reduce swelling. Ibuprofen and aspirin are not recommended in the event that the head injury is more serious than you originally may have thought, these pain relievers can exacerbate the injury further. Ensure your child gets plenty of rest and limit activities that might exacerbate symptoms.
- Observation and Follow-Up: Even after the immediate effects of a head bump subside, it’s crucial to keep a watchful eye on your child for at least 24 to 48 hours. Look for any lingering symptoms or changes in behaviour. If your child seems perfectly fine after this period and there are no concerns, they can resume their normal activities gradually. However, if you notice any unusual symptoms or your child’s condition worsens, seek medical advice promptly.
Always trust your instincts as a parent. If you’re ever unsure or concerned about the severity of a head bump or your child’s condition, seek advice from a healthcare professional.
So how do I tell the difference between a head bump and head injury?
Remember! The distinction between a paediatric head injury and a mere head bump lies in the severity, symptoms, and potential consequences associated with each. Remember, if you ever suspect a head injury or are unsure about your child’s condition, always seek medical advice immediately. Your proactive approach can make a significant difference in their recovery and overall health. You can also join us on one of our first aid courses if you want to learn more about head injuries or red flags of childhood illness.