Introduction

Falling onto or getting hit on the head is a frightful thing for the parents to witness when it happens to their children. Fortunately the brain is well protected by a the hard bony structure, the skull and the tough layer of skin above, which is the scalp and together they protect the brain from many minor falls and hits. Major accidents such as being in a motor vehicle crash, being hit or falling off a moving vehicle, getting struck by a swinging bat, falling from great heights or vigorous shaking as you might see in child abuse, can predispose to a serious brain injury or hemorrhage.

Symptoms of minor head injuries
Now, minor head injuries can produce some of the following symptoms – the child might cry and be irritable from the pain or fright of the accident, there can be pain at the site of the injury, there can be swelling of the scalp in the affected area, there may be bleeding if there is a cut and it’s not unusual if they vomit once. They may feel tired and want to sleep after the distressed episode and crying, however, they can be easily aroused and seem oriented when awake.

What to do for minor head injuries?
Some of the things you can do in the event of minor head injuries include: applying an ice or cold pack to the injured scalp to reduce the swelling, clean any cuts or wounds and apply pressure to control bleeding. Give a prescribed dose of paracetamol for pain. Wait and watch your child for a day or two, if any of the worrying signs, which we are going to discuss ahead, will happen. And if that happens, they need immediate medical attention. Over the next few weeks if you notice any behavioral changes like lethargy, excessive irritability or concentration problems do take your child to go in and see the doctor.

Worrying signs
Should any of these worrying signs occur, seek immediate medical attention by going to the nearest medical center or call for an ambulance. These worrying signs include – loss of consciousness for more than 30 seconds, any abnormal jerky movements that may indicate a seizure, if there is worsening headaches, there is double vision, they are vomiting more than once, there is blood or a clear discharge from the nose or from the ear, if the child is excessively drowsy and difficult to arouse, if they appear confused and disoriented that is they are not too sure of the time, place or people around them, they have difficulty with walking, frequent tripping and clumsiness, if there is profuse bleeding from the scalp wound which will require surgical suturing to stop the bleeding. Now if the history of the injury and the clinical examination should seem concerning, your doctor may advice for further investigation like a CT scan.

Prevention
Now, talking about prevention, here are some of the things you can do. Make your house child proof by installing safety gates at the top and bottom of stairways. Do not leave children unattended while sitting or sleeping on high surfaces. Insist your child wears a helmet while on a bicycle or skating. Have children sit in appropriate car seats and adequately strapped with seat belts while in moving vehicles. Ensure your child is adequately supervised and follows playground safety rules always. Teach them road safety rules so they can grow up to be responsible and safe while on the roads
Team Ovum Hospitals