It’s summer and that means that our children are all playing outside a lot more, which means there is a bigger risk of them getting hurt.
Often times the scariest injuries for parents are head injuries, often because we hear so many bad things about head injuries and how they affect people, especially kids.
In this post I will talk about the important things you need to know about head injuries in children.If you have a child who is playing a full contact sport (for example football), they should be evaluated after any major hit to rule out concussion. Most of the information in this post is more for the typical child who has just hit their head while playing.
Typically when your child has hit their head you instantly want to take them to the ER to get evaluated. While there is nothing wrong with that, you can avoid an unnecessary trip the the hospital if you know what things to look for. Also, symptoms may not show up for hours after they hit their, even if they initially do not show any symptoms.
If your child seems sleepy or groggy after a head injury, that can be normal. Just watch your child for any changes or worsening of symptoms and do not let your child sleep for more than an hour at a time without waking them up and making sure they can still talk.
If your child shows any of the following symptoms you need to take them to the hospital right away:
- Unable to walk in a child who previously had no problems (if your child has just learned how to walk, they are generally wobbly for a while, so this wouldn’t be a cause for concern, only if it is a change from the normal).
- Dizziness or complaint of the room spinning
- Double vision or fuzzy vision
- Inability to talk in a child who previously could talk
- Memory loss or inability to remember things
- Nausea and vomiting
- Inability to concentrate
There are some simple things you can do to check your child. You can ask simple questions that they should know. For example, ask about their favorite television show, their siblings, their pets, or anything else that they should know. If they don’t know the answer it could be a sign that the head injury is getting worse.
When you take your child to the hospital they may have some tests done to determine the extent of their injury. They may have x-rays or CT scans to determine if there is a skull fracture or brain bleed.
In some cases you will be required to stay overnight in the hospital. This is so that your child can be closely monitored by those who know what to look for.
If you are not required to stay the night in the hospital, you will still need to keep an eye on your child for 24 hours. You need to look for the symptoms that I mentioned above or for a worsening of symptoms. The hospital will tell you what you need to look for when you leave if there is anything specific to your child that you need to worry about.
Head injuries can be the scariest injuries for parents but they don’t always have to be. When you know what to look for you can ease your worries and know when it is time to take your child to the hospital.
If at any time you have a gut feeling though, follow that gut feeling and take your child to the hospital.
Has your child ever had a serious head injury? How did you handle it? Was it scary for you?