Children and Head Injuries
The last thing any parent wants to see is their child with a bleeding head. Head injuries are common in children because they like to play and display no fear. If you suspect that your child has a head injury, learn how to handle it.
We don’t see everything that our children do when they are at play. Sometimes we have to take their word or that of a friend that they hit their head or fell in a funny way on their head. When your child comes in from play, here are a few of the symptoms to look for with head injuries:
* Loss of consciousness – Your child falls and doesn’t get up.
* Complaints of headaches – They could have a concussion or an injury to the neck.
* Off balance – The head injury could have messed with their equilibrium and they are walking in an unsteady fashion. The pupils may also be unequal accompanied by vision problems and slurred speech.
* Crying – They may be holding their head or not, but they keep crying that it hurts.
* Blood – This can be from open wounds in the head or from the nose or mouth.
This one is not too hard to figure out. At some point, the head has come in contact with a hard surface straight on or at an odd angle. This can be done when a child hits another child’s head, falls to the ground and hits their head, falls on their head or even hits their head on a door, wall, corner or other surface.
Head injuries can present with or without visible blood and injury. When accompanied by a cut or scrape, the scalp will bleed profusely. This is due to the large number of blood vessels supplying it. Even a small cut will look like they are losing pints of blood. Clean it up first to assess the damage.
Head injuries with no visible bleeding can mean that the bleeding is internal. Concussions can be the result of subdural hematomas where the blood is collecting inside the skull between it and the layers of the brain’s protective covering. Injury to the skull can result in brain swelling that is not visible to the naked eye.
If you suspect that your child has a head injury, seek medical attention. Even cuts on the scalp may need stitches to close them. Before you go the doctor you can call the triage nurse at their office. She or he can guide you through the steps to determine if your child needs further attention.
For scrapes and minor cuts to the scalp, they may recommend applying ice to reduce swelling and bleeding. If your child has no visible signs of head trauma (listed under symptoms above), you may be in the clear. The nurse may suggest observation on your part for a few hours.
When symptoms are present, other test may be needed to determine the extent of injury. These are done in the hospital under medical supervision.
When your child has a head injury, get help. You can call and talk to a medical professional first before visiting the doctor if the injury is more serious.