Concussion - Signs That Your Kid Has One

Filed under: Health & Safety: Babies, Medical Conditions, Health & Safety: Toddlers & Preschoolers, Health & Safety: Big Kids, Health & Safety: Tweens, Health & Safety: Teens

father and sonBefore Christmas, my three-year-old fell while running and hit her head on the edge of a table. She started screaming, and when I picked her up, she went limp in my arms and seemed to lose consciousness. Though she woke up within seconds, my husband and I were terrified and rushed her to the ER.

Turns out, she's a champion breath-holder and that was the cause of her little fainting episode, rather than a concussion as we'd feared.

I can't count the number of times I've looked up "child head injury" either in baby books or on the Internet. It's probably equal to the number of times my kids have hit their heads hard enough to worry me. So what, exactly, are the signs of a head injury?

In young children, the signs can be difficult to recognize. According to Mayo Clinic, they are:

  • listlessness
  • irritability
  • change in eating or sleeping patterns
  • lack of interest in toys
  • loss of balance

Irritability or poor sleep habits in a toddler? Don't they act that way all the time? When in doubt after a head bump, always call your doctor if you're worried.

In older children, concussions aren't much easier to recognize. They can be subtle, says Mayo, and can either appear immediately or last for days or weeks. If, after hitting his or her head, your older child:

  • is confused
  • can't remember what happened
  • complains of headache, dizziness, or ringing in the ears
  • is nauseous or throwing up
  • is slurring

then they may have a concussion. In addition, other symptoms like sensitivity to light, mood changes, and sleep disturbances may occur over a longer period of time.

Finally, if you just aren't sure whether to call the doctor or not, here are some signs that might help you decide. Turns out we were right to head to the ER after my daughter's fall, since she lost consciousness after she fell ... even if it did turn out to be nothing.

Between learning to walk, climbing trees, soccer balls, and bike riding stunts, kids are going to hit their heads. A bandage and some TLC will take care of most injuries, but it's smart to know the signs of a more serious situation, and it's never a bad idea to check in with a doctor if you are at all concerned about your wee one's noggin.

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.