Most children with a serious head injury will have symptoms right away. Yet signs of serious injury can develop hours to days after the injury occurs. It is reassuring to have children cry immediately after a fall, respond to you, look in the eyes.
WHAT TO DO:
- Avoid using narcotics or sedatives.
- Give Acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Motrin) may be given for headache. If your child is tired or if it is bedtime, put your child to bed. But you should check your child every hour for 4 hours, and then every 4 hours for a total of 24 hours. When you check, they should recognize you and respond.
WHEN TO CALL:
- Persistent vomiting: In many cases, a child will vomit once or twice, shortly after a head injury especially if they swallow blood from a cut in the mouth. If the vomiting occurs more than twice, or resumes after it had stopped, call our office.
- Excessive drowsiness: Your child may be tired after a head injury. However, you should be able to rouse the child just as you normally could wake him/her from a deep sleep.
- Eye changes: If one pupil (the dark center of the eye) seems larger than the other or if the eyes are not moving together normally, or if your child complains of double vision, call.
- Unsteady walking or difficulty moving: Call if your child has any weakness or coordination problems, like stumbling.
- Confusion or memory loss or slower processing speeds
- Bleeding or unusual drainage from the nose or ears
- Severe, persistent headache: If your child’s headache is not relieved by rest, acetaminophen, or other routine pain relief practices, or if it lasts longer than 24 hours or if worsens significantly, call.
- Seizures or convulsions
- Personality changes, such as excessive irritability or aggressive behavior
- If your child lost consciousness at the time of the injury, call.