Surprisingly for parents, small children,
and especially toddlers, are always hitting their heads.
They will often have bruises on the forehead in various
stages of healing. Parents will often wonder, "what do people
think we do to him?" But if those people have ever had small
children, then they know exactly where those bruises come
It is very important to look at your home to ensure the
hazards that can cause more serious head injuries are not
present. Small children will often bump their heads on the
corners of coffee tables and end tables. The youngest infant
can fall from a sofa or bed even though you have used blankets
and pillows to guard them. They will also bump their heads
on the corners of fireplaces. A particular area where more
serious head injuries can occur is any area with stairs.
All stairs should be gated so that a child, with a child's
curiosity, will not inadvertently fall. It is not enough
to 'be there to watch them'. Some very serious accidents
have happened with the parents just a few feet away. Children
can be too fast when they make their minds up to do something.
And don't forget - sometimes the only way you will know
your child has learned to climb or roll is when you find
them atop something or have them fall from something.
A CHILD DOES STRIKE THEIR HEAD:
|* If there is
no lose of consciousness, they can usually be watched
* It is normal for a child to be sleepy after the accident.
It may not be time for their nap but it is okay to let
them sleep. There is no need to keep them awake.
* You should check your child every hour for the first
few hours and then at intervals for a full 24-hour period.
* Your child should be as easily aroused from their
sleep as they are normally.
* Your child's pupils in his eyes should both be the
same size. If one pupil is bigger or smaller than the
other, then you should contact your health care provider.
* Your child should recognize you and other family members
as usual and, if older, remember what happened.
* Your child's smiles and other facial expressions,
as well as the movement of arms and legs, should be
the same on both sides of the body (equally forceful
* Your child may have a large goose-egg on their forehead
and this is normal. A goose-egg is a bruise, or a collection
of blood under the skin, which will reabsorb. Sometimes,
as it reabsorbs, the blood may come down around the
orbits of the eyes, causing a black eye or eyes. Often,
the children look worse several days after the injury
than they do right after the injury. This too is normal.
* The bruising may also involve the white part (sclera)
of the eye. This does not affect vision and is not painful,
and will reabsorb without treatment. If there is any
pain or problems with vision, you child should be seen
by a health care provider.
* If there is a laceration at the site of the injury,
there will be lots of blood. There will be more blood
than you could ever expect, though the laceration may
be very small. This is a normal occurrence, because
the head and face are very vascular, or have a lot of
tiny blood vessels. This makes for a lot of blood and
also a fast healing process. Lacerations should usually
be seen, especially if repairing them is needed to stop
the flow of blood, to pull the edges of the skin together,
and thus to minimize the scar.
* Your child may vomit after they have hit their head.
This is minimal and normal. Treat the vomiting like
you would if they had the flu. Persistent or repeated
vomiting should always be discussed with your health
* If your child shows any of the signs and symptoms,
which can be a problem and are mentioned above, they
should be seen. In addition, you should be concerned
about prolonged, severe headache, irrational behavior,
unsteady walking, or a convulsion, and call your health
care provider immediately.
*As a parent, your role is not that of a health care
provider, even if you are a health care provider in
your other life. If you feel your child should be seen,
even though on the surface everything looks okay, TRUST
YOUR INTUITION! Your feelings are a valid reason for
you to seek care.