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Minor Head Injuries in Children

The following information is intended for children who:

  • Were well before the injury
  • Act normally after the injury
  • Have no cuts on the head or face

The information is not intended for children who:

  • Are younger than 2 years of age
  • Have possible neck injuries
  • Already have nervous-system problems, such as seizures or movement disorders
  • Have difficulties or delays in their development
  • Have bleeding disorders or bruise easily
  • Are victims of child abuse

What to do if your child has a head injury but does not lose consciousness

If your child is alert and responds to you, the head injury is mild and usually requires no tests or x-rays. It is normal for your child to cry, but this shouldn’t last more than 10 minutes. You may need to apply a cold compress for 20 minutes to help swelling go down. After the injury, watch your child closely for a period of time. If there are any changes in your child’s condition, call your pediatrician right away. The following are signs of a more serious injury:

  • A constant headache that gets worse
  • Oozing blood or watery fluid from the nose or ears
  • Slurred speech or confusion
  • Difficulty waking up
  • Dizziness that does not go away or happens repeatedly
  • Unequal size of the pupils
  • Extreme irritability or other abnormal behavior
  • Unusual paleness than lasts for more than an hour
  • Vomiting more than 2 times
  • Convulsions (seizures)
  • Stumbling or difficulty walking
  • Difficulty recognizing familiar people

What if my child loses consciousness?

If your child loses consciousness, call your pediatrician. Special tests my need to be done as soon as possible. A CAT scan is typically done for head injuries. Head X-rays show fractures (broken bones) of the skull. CAT scans can show brain injury. If test results are normal, your pediatrician will want you to watch your child closely for a period of time. If you take your child home and her condition changes, call your pediatrician right away since more care may be needed.

Information on this site is intended for Angel Kids Pediatrics patients only. Always consult your doctor before beginning, modifying, or discontinuing any treatment plan.

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