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.