Head Injuries - When should I be concerned with a head injury?

Most head injuries are mild and can be observed at home. If your child remains alert and responsive, the injury is usually mild and tests are not needed. You may apply a cold water compress or ice pack for up to 20 minutes if there is any external swelling (e.g. goose egg). This is the result of blood from a scalp vein leaking under the skin and will most likely form a bruise. It does not necessarily mean there has been internal brain injury. The child should be observed carefully for 24 hours for vomiting, change in breathing, color, or twitching. The child should be awakened and checked every 3 to 4 hours. Call the office, or go to the emergency room immediately if your child experiences any of the following:

  • Loss of consciousness of ANY length of time
  • Vomiting more than 2 times
  • A constant headache that is getting worse
  • Slurred speech
  • Difficulty walking straight or seeing straight
  • Abnormal breathing or color
  • Confusion or difficulty recognizing familiar people
  • Difficulty waking up
  • Fluid or blood coming from the ears or nose
  • Continuous crying for more than 15 minutes after the injury