Child Head Injury

A head injury may seem innocuous at first—a little slip and a bump to the head—but it could be far more dangerous. If a child loses consciousness after a head injury, then he or she has had a “concussion,” which may be serious because it means there has been a temporary loss in brain function. Some people with concussions do not lose consciousness, and brain injuries can occur without a loss of consciousness.

Severe head injuries can involve bruising, fracture, swelling, internal bleeding or a blood clot.

Seek emergency medical assistance if the child:

  • Exhibits any of the danger signs listed for adults.
  • Won’t stop crying.
  • Can’t be consoled.
  • Refuses to eat or nurse.
  • In infants, exhibits bulging in the soft spot on the front of the head.
  • Shows any sign of skull trauma or obvious abnormality of the skull, such as bruising on the scalp or a depressed area at the location of the injury.

Parents and caretakeers should note that vomiting is more common in young children, and they should only seek medical attention for a suspected head injury if a child vomits repeatedly in a brief period of time (e.g., more than once or twice within an hour) after a head injury.

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