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|When to Call Your Doctor|
|Call 911 Now (your child may need an ambulance) If|
|Call Your Doctor Now (night or day) If|
|Call Your Doctor Within 24 Hours (between 9 am and 4 pm) If|
|Call Your Doctor During Weekday Office Hours If|
|Parent Care at Home If|
|Causes & Health Information|
Types of Head Injuries.
- Scalp Injury. Most head injuries only damage the scalp. Examples are a cut, scrape, bruise or swelling. It is common for children to fall and hit their head while growing up. This is especially common when a child is learning to walk. Big lumps (bruises) can occur with minor injuries. This is because there is a large blood supply to the scalp. For the same reason, small cuts on the head may bleed a lot. Bruises on the forehead sometimes cause black eyes 1 to 3 days later. This is caused by blood spreading downward by gravity.
- Skull Fracture. Only 1% to 2% of children with head injuries will get a skull fracture. Most often, there are no other symptoms except for a headache. The headache occurs at the site where the head was hit. Most skull fractures occur without any injury to the brain. They heal easily.
- Concussion. A mild brain injury that changes how the brain normally works. It is usually caused by a sudden blow or jolt to the head. Many children bump or hit their heads without causing a concussion. The most common signs are a brief period of confusion or memory loss. This happens after the injury. Other signs of a concussion can include a headache or vomiting. Dizziness, acting dazed, or being knocked out can also be signs. A person does NOT need to be knocked out to have had a concussion. Following a concussion, some children have ongoing symptoms. These can include mild headaches, dizziness or thinking difficulties. School problems or emotional changes can occur. These symptoms can last for several weeks.
- Brain Injuries are uncommon. They are recognized by the symptoms listed below:
- Hard to wake up or keep awake OR
- Acts or talks confused OR
- Slurred speech OR
- Weakness of arms or legs OR
- Walking is not steady.
- Mild: Your child feels pain and tells you about it. But, the pain does not keep your child from any normal activities. School, play and sleep are not changed.
- Moderate: The pain keeps your child from doing some normal activities. It may wake him or her up from sleep.
- Severe: The pain is very bad. It keeps your child from doing all normal activities.
|CARE ADVICE FOR SCALP INJURIES|
- What You Should Know:
- Most head injuries only cause a swelling or bruise to the scalp.
- The skull bone protects the brain from getting injured.
- The mildest brain injury is a concussion. Most of those also turn out fine.
- Here is some care advice that should help.
- Wound Care:
- If there is a scrape or cut, wash it off with soap and water.
- For any bleeding, put direct pressure on the wound. Use a gauze pad or clean cloth. Press for 10 minutes or until the bleeding has stopped.
- Cold Pack:
- Use a cold pack or ice bag wrapped in a wet cloth. Put it on any swelling. Do this for 20 minutes.
- Reason: Prevent big lumps ("goose eggs"). Also, helps with the pain.
- Repeat in 1 hour, then as needed.
- Watch Your Child:
- Watch your child closely during the first 2 hours after the injury.
- Have your child lie down and rest until all symptoms have cleared. (Note: Mild headache, mild dizziness and nausea are common)
- Allow your child to sleep if he wants to, but keep him nearby.
- Wake him up after 2 hours of sleeping. Then, check how he walks and talks.
- Offer only clear fluids to drink, in case he vomits. Allow a regular diet after 2 hours.
- To help with the pain, give acetaminophen (such as Tylenol) or ibuprofen. Use as needed. See Dose Table.
- Exception: Do not give until 2 hours have passed from injury without any vomiting.
- Never give aspirin to children and teens. Reason: Always increases risk of bleeding.
- Special Precautions at Night:
- Mainly, sleep in same room as your child for 2 nights.
- Reason: If a problem occurs, you will recognize it if you are close by. Problems include a bad headache, vomiting or confusion. Also, look for any change in your child's normal behavior.
- Option: If you are worried, wake your child once during the night. Check how he walks and talks.
- After 48 hours, return to a normal sleep routine.
- What to Expect:
- Most head impact only causes a scalp injury.
- The swelling may take a week to go away.
- The headache at the site of impact usually clears in 2 to 3 days.
- Call Your Doctor If:
- Pain or crying becomes severe
- Vomits 2 or more times
- Your child becomes hard to wake up or confused
- Walking or talking is not normal
- Your child becomes worse
And remember, contact your doctor if your child develops any of the "Call Your Doctor" symptoms.
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Disclaimer: This information is not intended be a substitute for professional medical advice. It is provided for educational purposes only. You assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this information.
Author and Senior Reviewer: Barton D. Schmitt, M.D.
Last Reviewed: 9/1/2012
Last Revised: 1/14/2013
Content Set: Child Symptom Checker
Copyright 1994-2012 Barton D. Schmitt, M.D.