People say If your child hits his head, keep him awake. The reality of this is if someone is monitoring your child they can safely fall asleep. the facts Did you ever get conked on the head as a child, only to find that your mum’s top priority was keeping you awake?
You didn’t black out, it didn’t really hurt, you weren’t seeing double, there was not a drop of blood, but your mother was adamant that you stay as alert as a night – shift worker. Even to this day, many adults think that when a child (or anyone) gets any kind of bump on the head, allowing him to fall asleep is extremely dangerous to the brain. But if the head injury is not serious, usually it’s okay to let your child go to sleep, especially if he is still taking regular naps and is used to getting that midday rest, or if it’s bedtime.
“Head trauma,” “head injury,” and “blow to the head ” all sound very scary and painful — and they can be serious depending on the nature of the injuries sustained. But those are also phrases used to describe more minor thumps and bumps. Your child gets clocked on the head with a toy truck. He gets smacked by an errant rubber ball. He slips in his plastic swimming pool. Even when we take precautions, these kinds of things can happen. When does a bump on the head signal a more serious condition, such as a concussion or a head injury that requires a doctor ’ s intervention without delay? If any of the following conditions apply, contact your doctor immediately. Your child may be perfectly fine, but these symptoms might indicate a more serious head injury:
- You’re dealing with a baby under age six months. Even a minor head bump can be serious for a young baby. Your child is unconscious for any amount of time, even seconds. Your child is confused; is having trouble talking (vocalizing for non talkers), walking, or moving; shows signs of dizziness; is acting oddly (unusually irritable, very drowsy); or has convulsions (seizures) or unusual physical movements
- There is bleeding or watery blood from the nose or ears. (Blood from the mouth may be from an injured lip, gum, or tooth.) You make any of these physical observations: Your child looks pale for more than an hour; their pupils appear to be different sizes; there is a visible indentation in the skull. This type of indentation could indicate a skull fracture. Note that even minor bumps on the head can cause “ goose eggs ” — but indentations are different. Your child complains of neck pain or severe headache.
- Children too young to describe their pain symptoms may cry excessively. Your child vomits more than twice. If you visit the doctor ask about allowing your child to sleep for uninterrupted stretches. If an injury was serious enough to warrant a trip to the doctor or emergency room, the doctor may recommend that you wake the sleeping child every two to three hours to make sure he is responsive (he wakes easily) and is behaving or verbalizing normally, and that he shows no signs of further injury. You should watch your child because signs of more serious head trauma, such as the symptoms in the list above, may not appear until hours or even days after the injury. You should also seek a doctor’s guidelines on offering any pain medication. If your child sustains a head injury and cannot get up on their own, do not move him (his neck or spine could be injured) and call the emergency services.
Once again, use your parental common sense. Consider how he got hurt (what caused the injury; how great the impact was; if he fell a great distance onto a hard surface or fell onto soft ground; got hit by a heavy, hard object or by a soft one, and so on) and observe your child closely. If he is his normal, lively self, then he ’ s probably okay. Most childhood bumps on the head are just that.People also think that If your child didn’t black out after a fall, it’s not serious. The reality of this situation is after a fall, your child can lose consciousness so briefly that you may not even notice. It’s possible to lose consciousness for seconds — such a short span of time that as an observer, you may not even notice. Any loss of consciousness due to a blow to the head indicates an interruption in normal brain function. Therefore, a child should always be checked by a doctor, even if the injury seemed minor and the loss of consciousnesses was momentary.
What if your child did not lose consciousness? It’s still possible that they may still have sustained a concussion, an injury to the brain that disrupts its normal functions. (A concussion is considered a “ closed ” head injury, meaning that nothing has penetrated the skull and there is no open wound. When there is no blood, we may be tempted to think there is no serious injury.) During a concussion, the brain literally gets jostled around in the skull, potentially causing bruising of the brain as well as nerve and blood vessel damage. Though that sounds horrendous, most concussions — which are more prevalent among older kids doing contact sports — are not serious. Though brain function is disrupted, the brain isn’t necessarily damaged. Concussions are often graded into three levels:
- Grade 1 concussion – Mild, no loss of consciousness. Your child is fi ne within twenty minutes of the injury or sooner.
- Grade 2 concussion – No loss of consciousness, but more serious than Grade 1 because your child was slightly disoriented for more than twenty minutes after being injured. She may not recall what happened. See a doctor.
- Grade 3 concussion – Loss of consciousness for a brief time. Your child may not recall what happened. See a doctor.
Most concussions are mild. However, if your child has any of the symptoms listed after a head injury, or if you’re dealing with a child under six months of age — no matter how minor it may have seemed at the time — contact your doctor.
We may think of concussions as an injury that happens to school – age (often helmet – less) skateboarders, cyclists, soccer players, and other athletes; but babies, toddlers, and preschoolers can get them, too.
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