Head injuries: Indications of a head injury in children

Children are at high risk for head injuries while playing sports or during recreational activities and vehicular accidents. Always bear in mind that these injuries can be serious which results to lasting damage to the brain and even death if severe enough.

A child with a possible head injury might not develop any signs and symptoms that specify a serious injury until hours after. It is vital to seek immediate medical care for a head injury to rule out a serious issue. Emergency care must be sought if there is bleeding, loss of consciousness or breathing difficulties.

Indications of external head injury

An external head injury will not affect the internal skull or brain. The scalp is involved and eventually damaged. The external symptoms are usually evident.

Head injury

A child might have bleeding or drainage of clear fluid from the nose, ears or mouth right after the injury.

When a child sustained a direct blow to the head, he/she might have bruising at the location of impact or bleeding if the skin is broken. The bleeding can be significant since the scalp contains several blood vessels and can bleed profusely. In most cases, a contusion can form or swelling under the skin which is called as “goose-egg”.

A child with a minor external head injury might not experience the symptoms beyond swelling, pain or bruising. Any child with a head injury should be closely monitored for 24 hours for any delayed symptoms. The progression of the symptoms can indicate a serious head injury such as a concussion or internal injury.

Symptoms of an internal head injury

The brain is protected by fluid within the skull. On the other hand, a strong blow to the skull can damage the brain tissues and blood vessels. Various symptoms can manifest if a child endures an internal head injury.

The bleeding within the brain is serious and occurs once the blood vessels within the head are damaged. A child might have bleeding or drainage of clear fluid from the nose, ears or mouth right after the injury. There is also difficulty with balance and speech, falling easily and unable to bear weight might indicate a brain injury. The pupils might have varying sizes and there is difficulty focusing visually or have blurry vision.

In some cases, the child can become unconscious even if he/she has been awake and alert after an injury. The symptoms of a head injury can develop in a slow rate, oftentimes days after the injury. Close monitoring of the child is required while medical care is required if the symptoms develop.

What is a concussion?

A concussion is a categorized as a closed head injury that has classic symptoms. It usually involves damage on the brain that occurs once it bounces within the skull.

A child who sustained the injury might have immediate symptoms as well as those that develop slowly. The common symptoms include the following:

  • Visual disturbances
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Fatigue

A concussion can also cause anxiety, memory problems and difficulty with concentration that can develop after sustaining a head injury. Once symptoms manifest, it is vital to seek medical care.


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