Pediatric Head Injuries: Causes and Treatment

Pediatric Head Injuries: Causes and Treatment

Dec 01, 2019

Children bump their heads on walls all the time and sometimes it’s difficult to tell if it’s a mild, moderate or severe injury. Take note, any bump on the head is classified as a head injury.

Although most childhood injuries are mild and can be managed at home, you should still see a pediatrician for a proper diagnosis.

What is Classified as A Head Injury?

A head injury is any damage to the skull, scalp, brain or blood vessels, and it is categorized as either;

  • External which affects the scalp only
  • The internal head injury involves the skull and its blood vessels, and the brain

Most childhood falls are external and not as dangerous. However, if you suspect that the child has an internal head injury, visit our pediatric emergency room in Baytown, TX.

What Type of Head Injury Does Your Child Have?

Regardless of whether the injury is external or internal, the child may have one of the following types of head injuries;

  • Concussion. The head injury can affect the brain’s function and cause loss of awareness or alertness that lasts for a few minutes or hours.
  • A contusion is a bruise on the brain which causes bleeding and swelling where the head was hit, but at times the swelling may appear on the other side of the brain. A contusion is caused by a direct blow to the head, whiplash injury, or violent shaking of the child.
  • Skull fracture is a break of the skull bone.

How Can You Tell the Type of Head Injury?

Your child has a mild head injury if they have headaches, irritability, sensitivity to light, swelling on the head, shallow cut in the head, lightheadedness, confusion, balance problems, blurred or double vision, tiredness, and lethargy.

Moderate to severe head injury symptoms include; loss of consciousness, repeated nausea and vomiting, slurred speech, loss of short-term memory, sweating, seizures and convulsions, deep cut in the scalp, pale skin, and dark circle in the eye pupil.

When to Call the Doctor

Head injuries are one of the leading causes of death and disability in children. Therefore, visit a pediatric emergency care if you notice constant crying and irritability, persistent headaches, recurring vomiting, and difficulty when walking.

It is crucial to seek medical advice when you are in doubt about the condition of your child, even if the child doesn’t have serious injuries.

What to Do After an Injury Occurs

If the child is not an infant and is still conscious and alert, apply an ice pack on the injured area for 20 minutes every four hours. Plus, observe the child for 24 hours for any further complications that may develop.

If they are unconscious, don’t move them in case there is a neck or spine injury, and call for help. Also, don’t attempt to clean or apply pressure on the wound, as it can make the bleeding worse and fracture the skull.


As aforementioned, mild head injuries don’t need any treatment other than monitoring for the first 48 hours. However, if the injury is serious it’s prudent to take your child to an emergency room for observation. Our pediatrician will periodically assess the child’s condition and will discharge only when satisfied with the results.

They might prescribe pain relievers to ease headaches and pain. Take caution not to give your child aspirin or ibuprofen because these medications increase bleeding in the head.

At times, the child may need an Intensive Care Unit or surgery depending on the severity of the brain injury.

Preventing Head Injuries

Although it is impossible to prevent your child from falls, there are certain steps you can take to reduce the impact;

  • Childproof the home
  • Always ensure your children where a headgear and protective sports when playing soccer, biking, skateboarding, or skiing
  • They should also wear seat belts at all times


The recovery process will depend on the severity of the injury, the child’s age, and the place affected. Most children have a low risk of complications, but they still need to be monitored for a quick recovery. Call our pediatrician as soon as an injury occurs or when you notice any abnormal behavior after an injury.

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