Although it is natural to become tense when a child
hurts his head, most head injuries (at times even serious-looking
ones) pass off without any complication.
It is important to watch the child closely after a head
injury. If he looks alright to you after the injury, there is no
need to panic.
If he is normal even after 48 hours of the accident, the
risk to your child is almost nil. The accident was probably
meant to help him learn some lesson for the future. However, make a note of the date and time of the head
injury in the child’s personal file or diary for any
You Need To Take Action In The Following Conditions:
lack of alertness, drowsiness or unconsciousness
to move any part of the body
changes resulting in squint, double vision, etc.
from the nose or ear
Concussion Versus Compression
In a condition called concussion, the whole brain is
shaken after the head is hit hard. The child becomes
unconscious for a brief period and becomes normal within a few minutes.
He may also complain of slight headache, nausea and
giddiness and have one or two bouts of vomiting. Such cases should
not cause anxiety.
Compression of the brain, on the other hand, can be serious. The real problem arises if there
is swelling of
the brain and the injury leads to compression of the brain
due to bleeding between the skull and the brain. This may cause
the worrying symptoms mentioned above. If you’re anxious
about the way your child looks, consult your doctor
immediately or take the child to the casualty department of a nearby
While you are waiting for your doctor, attend to any
external injury. If you notice any bump on the head, it is due to external bleeding between the scalp and the skull. Apply
gentle pressure with ice in a hand towel or any piece of
cloth for 15 to 20 minutes. If there is a cut on the scalp,
attend to it as advised under the section on Cuts. If you suspect
that the child might have also injured his neck, do not move him;
wait for your doctor or the ambulance to arrive and let the
experts carry the child safely to the hospital. Careless
handling of a child with injury to the neck can result in serious
damage to the spinal cord.
Hospitalisation And Tests
Let your doctor decide if X-rays of the skull or a brain
scan are needed. If the soft spot (anterior fontanelle) in a
small infant is open, doctors may decide to go for a simpler procedure called sonography of the head.
Most cases of head injury need neither hospitalisation
nor any X-rays. Observation of the child, in most cases for
a day or two at home or in the hospital, and examination by
your doctor are all that is required. But if one or more of
the serious symptoms given above are present, do not delay matters and let the doctor decide the right course of
action for your child.
Vigorous Shaking Of The Child Can Be Dangerous
Mention may be made here of the possibility of a rare
injury to the brain and eyes following vigorous shaking of the
child. This can happen if an angry parent takes recourse to
this method to stop a small child crying continuously. Always allow your spouse, family or friends
to share the care
of a colicky child with you so that you are not stressed too
11 February, 2013