Head Injury, Child

ExitCare ImageYour infant or child has received a head injury. It does not appear serious at this time. Headaches and vomiting are common following head injury. It should be easy to awaken your child or infant from a sleep. Sometimes it is necessary to keep your infant or child in the emergency department for a while for observation. Sometimes admission to the hospital may be needed.

SYMPTOMS

Symptoms that are common with a concussion and should stop within 7-10 days include:

  • Memory difficulties.

  • Dizziness.

  • Headaches.

  • Double vision.

  • Hearing difficulties.

  • Depression.

  • Tiredness.

  • Weakness.

  • Difficulty with concentration.

If these symptoms worsen, take your child immediately to your caregiver or the facility where you were seen.

Monitor for these problems for the first 48 hours after going home.

SEEK IMMEDIATE MEDICAL CARE IF:

  • There is confusion or drowsiness. Children frequently become drowsy following damage caused by an accident (trauma) or injury.

  • The child feels sick to their stomach (nausea) or has continued, forceful vomiting.

  • You notice dizziness or unsteadiness that is getting worse.

  • Your child has severe, continued headaches not relieved by medication. Only give your child headache medicines as directed by his caregiver. Do not give your child aspirin as this lessens blood clotting abilities and is associated with risks for Reye's syndrome.

  • Your child can not use their arms or legs normally or is unable to walk.

  • There are changes in pupil sizes. The pupils are the black spots in the center of the colored part of the eye.

  • There is clear or bloody fluid coming from the nose or ears.

  • There is a loss of vision.

Call your local emergency services (911 in U.S.) if your child has seizures, is unconscious, or you are unable to wake him or her up.

RETURN TO ATHLETICS

  • Your child may exhibit late signs of a concussion. If your child has any of the symptoms below they should not return to playing contact sports until one week after the symptoms have stopped. Your child should be reevaluated by your caregiver prior to returning to playing contact sports.

  • Persistent headache.

  • Dizziness / vertigo.

  • Poor attention and concentration.

  • Confusion.

  • Memory problems.

  • Nausea or vomiting.

  • Fatigue or tire easily.

  • Irritability.

  • Intolerant of bright lights and /or loud noises.

  • Anxiety and / or depression.

  • Disturbed sleep.

  • A child/adolescent who returns to contact sports too early is at risk for re-injuring their head before the brain is completely healed. This is called Second Impact Syndrome. It has also been associated with sudden death. A second head injury may be minor but can cause a concussion and worsen the symptoms listed above.

MAKE SURE YOU:

  • Understand these instructions.

  • Will watch your condition.

  • Will get help right away if you are not doing well or get worse.