Kids love rough-and-tumble play, and in most cases, it’s worth encouraging. Sports, games, and outdoor play are good ways to get some exercise, learn co-operative play, and improve hand-eye co-ordination.
However, there’s always the risk of an accident.
It’s easy enough to laugh off a few bumps and bruises, but head injuries are no laughing matter.
If your child hits their head, it’s important that you act quickly, and take precautions, to ensure that there’s no underlying brain injury.
What to Do When Your Child Hits Their Head
When a child hits their head, the most important thing is to not panic. If you panic, the child will probably panic too. If you stay calm, they’re more likely to stay composed.
If you see the accident happen, and they start crying right away, that’s actually a fairly positive sign. Head injuries that involve a nice big “goose egg” swelling are usually just limited to the scalp themselves, and don’t tend to involve an underlying brain injury.
Usually, these mild injuries can be treated with rest, an ice pack, and a child-friendly painkiller. Of course, it pays to be vigilant, and if they show signs of grogginess later, then you should still seek medical advice.
In the past, parents were advised to wake their child periodically during the night after a head injury, but this can cause more upset.
Instead, watch your child – are they breathing normally? Do they look healthy, or pale?
If anything about their sleep seems “wrong”, then you have cause for concern.
Otherwise, if they were OK (other than the bump on their head) when they were awake, then don’t wake them.
If they lose consciousness for even a second, then you should take them to the doctor or local walk-in immediately.
If they’re back up and playing straight after the accident, then keep an eye on them.
Even serious head injuries can sometimes take up to 24 hours to show signs. So, if your child hits their head in the morning, then that could explain why they have a headache, starts vomiting and seems more subdued than usual later in the afternoon.
If you have any concerns at all, call the doctor and say you’re worried about the possibility of brain injury.
Symptoms of Brain Injury
If your child exhibits any of the following signs, then you should seek medical advice.
- Dizziness or an unusual lack of co-ordination
- Loss of consciousness
- Crossed eyes, or one pupil being bigger than the other
- Feeling unusually quiet, unable to concentrate, or grumpy
A brain injury that is caught early can often be successfully treated, however if it goes untreated for too long, it can have long-lasting effects.
Brain damage is no joke, and the effects of one untreated head injury could lead to long term assisted living requirements.
When you consider that rapid response and monitoring can prevent brain damage and reduce the need for assisted living, it makes sense to be on your guard.
Don’t worry about being thought of as a worried or pushy parent.
Most knocks to the head are things that a child can bounce back from, but the small percentage that aren’t are serious enough that it’s worth making sure.