What to Watch For: Symptoms of Concussions in Children

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“My six-year-old daughter was at school the other day when one of her classmates fell at recess and hit her head on the brick wall of the building. They have supervision on the playground but no one was nearby, so my daughter had to walk her friend to the school office – as her head gushed blood.

Because of budget cuts, her school doesn’t a full-time nurse, so the girl was taken to the main office. The principal and the administrative staff called the child’s mother, but no one called 911. The school has one designated teacher with first aid training who was called down to the office. When she finally arrived, she checked the girl but decided the mom was close enough that they didn’t need to call an ambulance. The girl’s mother took her to the hospital where they found she had a moderate concussion and needed 20 stitches.

The next day, the mother came into school furious that it had taken so long for her daughter to get treatment. Why didn’t the school call 911 immediately? What if her daughter had started seizing or slipped into unconsciousness?”

Concussions and Traumatic Brain Injuries

Concussions are caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head that can change the way your brain normally works. Nearly half a million (473,947) emergency department visits are made every year by children under the age of 14 for concussions and traumatic brain injuries.

For kids, most of these are caused by sports-related activities. In fact, the leading causes of youth concussions are bicycling, football, basketball, playground activities and soccer.

Signs and Symptoms

First and foremost, if your child bumps his or her head, you should take them to the emergency room right away. According to the CDC, the symptoms of concussion usually fall into four different categories: Thinking/Remembering, Physical, Emotional and Sleep Habits.

Staying Safe

Take the time to teach your kids about good safety habits.  These can be as simple as looking both ways before crossing the street and always wearing a seatbelt in the car.

Another super important way to keep little noggins safe and sound – make sure to use helmets and headgear, as well as all other recommended pads and safety equipment during sports and outdoor activities! 

This article is not intended as medical advice, and this information should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.

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