Symptoms of a Head Injury in Children

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Nearly all kids will take tumbles and bump their noggins from time to time. While these bumps are generally nothing to worry about, they can prove serious on occasion. If your child is prone to falling or is the rough-and-tumble type, be on the look out for side effects from his most recent head bump.


Internal vs. External

Children who hit their heads can experience either an external injury, an internal injury or a combination of the two. When a child experiences an external injury, the injury will be visible to the naked eye. When a child experiences an injury that is a combination of the two, some signs of head injury will be visible, but the most serious signs will not be apparent. The most dangerous situation occurs when a child experiences a head injury that is entirely internal. It may appear on the outside that the child is fine, because all signs of injury are hidden inside the skull.

Easy-to-See Signs

When a child experiences an external head injury, he will likely suffer significant bleeds as the scalp is home to a large number of blood vessels. Many children who bump their heads develop a large bump, or “goose egg,” as a result of the veins within the scalp leaking fluid or blood under the skin. As KidsHealth reports, these visible signs are often long-lasting and may take days or weeks to disappear fully.

Potentially Serious Signs

While most bumps on the head prove benign, and present no serious threats to the child’s health, some can be more serious. To ensure that your child’s simple bump is nothing more than a minor annoyance, look out for signs of serious injury immediately following the head trauma. These signs commonly include persistent crying that cannot be soothed, complaints of head or neck pain, and difficulty walking or the adoption of an uncommon gait. If you notice any of these signs, a doctor’s visit is in order.

Immediate Medical Attention Needed

Some symptoms of head injury require immediate attention. Signs of serious head injury including unconsciousness, abnormal breathing, bleeding from the nose, ear or mouth, unequal pupil size, seizure or vomiting more than twice. If your child exhibits any of these symptoms, you should call 911 immediately, as his head injury could be quite severe.

Possible Concussion

One common injury that results from a hard head bump is a concussion. A concussion occurs when the soft tissue of the brain strikes the hard bone of the skull. While most concussions heal on their own and leave no lasting effects, medical attention is required to ensure that your child’s concussion is not severe. Common concussion signs include slurred or disoriented speech, difficulty balancing, enhanced light sensitivity or memory loss. If your child experiences any of these symptoms post-head injury, take him to the doctor and outline his symptoms so the doctor can make a diagnosis.

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