Head Injury In Children: Things Every Parent Should Know

It is very common for children to be prone to falls and injuries such as a bump on the head or a cut in the scalp. However, head injuries in children should be dealt with utmost caution and care.

By Tasneem Sariya

Head Injury In Children: Things Every Parent Should Know

Ramesh Prabhu goes to great lengths to ensure his two-year-old son, Arvind, is safe from any injury. He is especially careful about his son’s hands and legs and prevents the little one from engaging in any activity that might lead to any injury to these body parts. One day, Arvind slips and falls on his head and loses consciousness. At the hospital, the doctor informs Ramesh that Arvind has suffered a mild concussion and will be fine.

The situation could have been worse for Arvind. Any injury to the head could prove to be fatal for children.

No matter how careful you are as a parent, you cannot completely stop your child from taking a tumble, crashing into something while playing, or slipping and falling off. The head is often an easy target or injury spot and in case of a serious head wound the effects of the mishap may last for a lifetime.

Hence, it is imperative to know more about head injuries, to ensure that timely medical attention and necessary precautions are taken for the safety of the child.

Different types of head injuries

Head injuries can be categorised mainly into external or internal injuries.

External injury:

External head injuries are more common and do not have a long effect on the child’s overall health. It occurs when the scalp is bruised or cut, resulting in a discharge of blood or a goose egg swelling on the head. These can occur either due to a fall or a hit on the head or minor accidents that may take place while skating or running.

When your child is hurt on the head, apply ice or a cold pack every half an hour or so. The child may cry, feel tired and may want to sleep. However, if you feel that your child is acting differently, consult the doctor.

Internal injury:

Internal injury to the head is a far more serious and complicated injury. These require immediate attention. It occurs when there is internal damage to the brain or skull or blood vessels from grave road accidents, abuse or a possibly serious fall.

Consult the doctor immediately in case of internal head injury.

Symptoms of head injury

Depending on the intensity and seriousness of the injury, symptoms will vary. In case of a mild or moderate injury, the symptoms to watch out for are:

  • A headache
  • Swollen bump or cut
  • Dizziness or nausea
  • Blurred vision
  • Problems in sleeping
  • Irritability and confusion
  • Sensitivity to light, noise or a ringing sensation in the ears

What to do: The biggest advantage is that your child is conscious when the injury is mild. Apply ice packs over the wound and allow your child to rest. Do not put pressure on the wound or apply any medication without consulting your doctor. Monitor the child’s behaviour to ensure that he is behaving normally.

However, for serious head injuries the symptoms are:

  • Unconsciousness
  • Nausea and repeated vomiting
  • Loss of memory
  • A severe headache that refuses to go away
  • Convulsions or seizures
  • Difficulty in walking, balancing or sometimes inability to move one side of the body
  • Bleeding or fluid discharge from the ears and nose

What to do: The child needs to be rushed to the doctor in case of a foreign object sticking out of the head in an injury or excessive bleeding or if the child seems to be in a state of a coma of absolute immobility.

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In case the child is unconscious, try and not move or shake the child, especially in case of a neck or spine injury. If there is vomiting or concussions gently shift the child to a sideways position so that there is no choking.

Concussions

Concussions occur when there is an internal injury to the head and occur most often when children collide while playing sports or when they fall off while biking or skating and so on. Usually, concussions are temporary in nature and do not impact the child’s health in the long run.

How to prevent head injury?

There is no full proof method of preventing a head injury, however, precautions like wearing a helmet while sporting, making sure your child plays in areas that do not have a hard or stony ground, wearing a seatbelt in the car and so on may help.

Injuries are a part and parcel of growing up and as parents, we can only try and make sure that we rear them in a safe and healthy environment. For any emergencies, a calm demeanour and quick thinking will help your child to recover more bravely and faster. 

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