Head Injuries

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Head Injury Overview:

Head injuries occur commonly in childhood and adolescence.  Most head injuries are mild and not associated with brain injury or long-term complications.

Head Injury Monitoring

Children with any of the following symptoms should be evaluated by us since these symptoms may indicate a higher risk of complications.

  •     If your child has more than one episode of vomiting
  •     If your child has a seizure (convulsions)
  •     If your child loses consciousness after the injury
  •     If your child develops a headache that is severe or worsens with time
  •     If there are changes in your child’s behavior (i.e. lethargic, difficult to wake, extremely irritable, or exhibiting other abnormal behavior)
  •     If your child stumbles, has difficulty walking, clumsiness, or lack of coordination
  •     If your child becomes confused or has slurred speech
  •     If your child has dizziness that does not resolve or recurs repeatedly
  •     If blood or watery fluid oozes from the nose or ears
  •     If the parent/caregiver is concerned about how the child is acting
  •     Has weakness or numbness involving any part of their body

Head Injury Treatment at Home

  • Rest – Encourage your child to lie down or choose a quiet activity.  Allow your child to sleep if desired.  It is NOT dangerous to sleep after a minor head injury (especially if it is nap time).  A mild headache, nausea and dizziness are common, especially during the first few hours after the injury.
  • Swelling – Swelling (a large lump or “goose egg” is also common after a head injury.  To reduce swelling, an ice or a cold pack can be applied to the area for 20 minutes.  Swelling usually begins to improve within a few hours, but may take one week to completely resolve.
  • Pain – Tylenol (acetaminophen) may be given for a headache.  If the child’s headache is severe or worsens, the child should be evaluated and will need medical attention.
  • Waking from sleep – It is not usually necessary to wake your child/adolescent from sleep after a minor head injury.  If your child’s provider recommends waking your child, they should be able to wake up and recognize their surroundings and parent/caregiver.