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Knowing the s and symptoms of a serious head injury will help you get the right care. Speak with a health care provider about the injury as soon as possible. If you think a head injury might be serious, call or visit an emergency department right away. For non-emergency information or advice, call to speak with a registered nurse any time of the day, every day of the year. For more information about head injury, including concussion recognition, diagnosis, treatment and management, see:. Top of the Check Your Symptoms. Almost all children will bump their he, especially when they are babies or toddlers and are just learning to roll over, crawl, or walk.
These accidents may upset you, but your anxiety is usually worse than the injury. Most head injuries in children are minor. Head injury occurs more often in young children than adults. When compared with adults:. Bumps, cuts, and scrapes on the head and face usually heal well and can be treated the same as injuries to other parts of the body. A superficial cut on the head often bleeds heavily because the face and scalp have many blood vessels close to the surface of the skin. This bleeding is alarming, but often the injury is not severe and you can stop the bleeding with home treatment.
When bleeding does not stop with home treatment, visit a doctor because a young child can lose a large amount of blood from a deep cut on the head. The most common serious head injuries in young children are caused by falls and abuse inflicted head injuries , such as shaken baby syndrome. Serious head injuries may involve injuries to the brain. The more force that is involved in a head injury, the more likely it is that a serious injury to the brain has occurred.
If there has been a high-energy injury to the head , there is a greater likelihood that a serious injury has occurred. When a high-energy injury occurs, it is even more important to assess the child for s of a serious head injury. Following an injury, it can be hard to tell the difference between a mild traumatic brain injury concussion and a more serious brain injury. Watch the child carefully for 24 hours after a head injury to see whether he or she develops any s of a serious head injury. When a head injury has occurred, look for injuries to other parts of the body.
The alarm of seeing a head injury may cause you to overlook other injuries that need attention. Trouble breathing, shock, spinal injuries, and severe bleeding are all life-threatening injuries that may occur along with a head injury and require immediate medical attention. Injuries to the spine , especially the neck, must be considered when a head injury has occurred.
Be sure to check for other injuries to the face, mouth, or teeth whenever there is a head injury. Many head injuries can be prevented. Use car seats, seat belts, helmets, and make your home safe from falls to prevent an injury. Establish good safety habits early so your child will continue them when he or she is older. Check your child's symptoms to decide if and when your child should see a doctor. Many things can affect how your body responds to a symptom and what kind of care you may need.
These include:. You have answered all the questions. Based on your answers, you may be able to take care of this problem at home. With severe bleeding , any of these may be true:. With moderate bleeding , any of these may be true:. With mild bleeding , any of these may be true:. Other symptoms related to a head injury that may appear later include:. Symptoms of a spinal cord injury in may include:. Shock is a life-threatening condition that may occur quickly after a sudden illness or injury.
Babies and young children often have several symptoms of shock. Symptoms of a skull fracture may include:. Symptoms of a serious head injury may include:. Babies' he are easily damaged, and their neck muscles are not strong enough to control the movement of the head.
Shaking or throwing a baby can cause the head to jerk back and forth. This can make the skull hit the brain with force, causing brain damage, serious vision problems, or even death. Based on your answers, you may need care right away.
The problem is likely to get worse without medical care. Based on your answers, you may need care soon. The problem probably will not get better without medical care. Based on your answers, you need emergency care. Call or other emergency services now. Put direct, steady pressure on the wound until help arrives. Keep the area raised if you can. Sometimes people don't want to call They may think that their symptoms aren't serious or that they can just get someone else to drive them.
But based on your answers, the safest and quickest way for you to get the care you need is to call for medical transport to the hospital. Do not move the person unless there is an immediate threat to the person's life, such as a fire. If you have to move the person, keep the head and neck supported and in a straight line at all times.
If the person may have a spinal injury from diving into the water and is still in the water, float the person face up in the water. Based on your answers, the problem may not improve without medical care. Parents should watch their child for any problems after the injury. Home treatment can help relieve swelling and bruising of the skin or scalp and pain that occurs with a minor head injury.
Be sure to follow the instructions given to you by your child's doctor. He or she will tell you what problems to look for and how closely to watch your child for the next 24 hours or longer. Do not give any medicine, including non-prescription acetaminophen , such as Tylenol, to you are watching for s of a more serious head injury unless your health care provider tells you to. Call your child's doctor if any of the following occur during home treatment:. Each new learning stage for your baby requires increased attention on your part to prevent an injury. It may surprise you how fast your baby can move from one stage to the next.
Being aware of your baby's abilities and what skills he or she is likely to develop next will help you prevent injuries. Always be gentle with your baby. Be sure to protect your baby from a brain injury. Shaking or slapping a baby in anger can cause an injury to the brain. If a baby has been shaken or slapped, it is your responsibility to notify your doctor.
Be aware of your baby's risk of falling. Watch your baby carefully. Practice good safety habits early so your child will continue them when he or she is older:. You can help your doctor diagnose and treat your child's condition by being prepared to answer the following questions:. This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.
Learn How this information was developed. To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise. All rights reserved. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated. British Columbia Specific Information Knowing the s and symptoms of a serious head injury will help you get the right care. Topic Overview Head injury Almost all children will bump their he, especially when they are babies or toddlers and are just learning to roll over, crawl, or walk.
When compared with adults: Young children can't control the movement of their he as well as adults. Their he are larger in relation to their bodies. Their neck muscles are not as well developed. Young children's legs are somewhat shorter in proportion to the rest of their bodies. This makes 's centre of gravity closer to the head than an adult's centre of gravity. Young children are more likely to have an injury or fall as they learn new skills such as walking, running, and jumping.
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Head Injury, Age 3 and Younger