Head injuries fall into two categories:
Fortunately, most childhood falls or blows to the head cause injury to the scalp only, which is usually more frightening than threatening. An internal head injury could be more serious because it may cause bleeding or bruising of the brain.
The scalp is rich with blood vessels, so even a minor cut there can bleed a lot. Sometimes the scalp’s veins leak fluid or blood into (and under) the scalp. This appears as a "goose egg" or swelling on the head. It may take days or even a week to disappear.
What to look for and what to do:
Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) is a clear fluid that cushions the brain from damage. But a severe blow to the head can still knock the brain into the side of the skull or tear blood vessels.
Some internal head injuries can be serious and possibly life-threatening. These include a broken skull bone, torn blood vessels, or damage to the brain itself.
It can be hard to know how serious a head injury is, so it's always wise to call your doctor.
Call 911 if your child shows any of these symptoms after a head injury:
Concussions — the temporary loss of normal brain function due to an injury — are also a type of internal head injury. Repeated concussions can permanently damage the brain.
In many cases, a concussion is mild and won't cause long-term damage. Kids who get a concussion usually recover within a week or two without lasting health problems by following certain precautions and taking a break from sports and other activities that make symptoms worse.
Playing sports is one of the most common causes of concussions. To help protect your kids, make sure that they wear the proper protective gear, and don't let them continue to play if they've had a head injury.
If your child sustains an injury to the head, watch for these signs of a possible concussion:
If you suspect a concussion, call your doctor right away.
It's impossible to prevent kids from ever being injured, but there are ways to help prevent head blows.
Make sure that:
Reviewed by: Rupal Christine Gupta, MD
Date reviewed: January 2015
|National SAFE KIDS Campaign The National SAFE KIDS Campaign offers information about car seats, crib safety, fact sheets, and links to other health- and safety-oriented sites.|
|National Safety Council The National Safety Council offers information on first aid, CPR, environmental health, and safety.|
|Brain Injury Association The mission of this group is to create a better future through brain injury prevention, research, education, and advocacy. Call: (800) 444-6443|
|National Center for Injury Prevention and Control (NCIPC) The website of NCIPC contains a variety of injury prevention information.|
|American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) The AAP is committed to the health and well-being of infants, adolescents, and young adults. The website offers news articles and tips on health for families.|
|American Sports Medicine Institute The mission of ASMI is to improve the understanding, prevention and treatment of sports-related injuries through research and education.|
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