Head Injury

What is a head injury?

  • A head injury usually results from a fall or accidental bumping of the head. A head injury can be described as mild, moderate or severe.
  • A mild injury is frequently referred to as a concussion. It may result in a short loss of consciousness and the child may not remember the event. The child normally returns to their normal level of alertness rapidly.
  • A moderate head injury causes damage to a larger area of the brain and swelling of the injured area may occur. This injury usually causes a longer period of unconsciousness.
  • A severe injury frequently causes injury to the upper area of the brain stem and causes a decrease in the level of alertness of the child. The child may go into a coma. If the child returns to consciousness, it is very gradual. This type of injury may result in permanent brain damage.

What should I watch for when my child goes home?

When your child is ready for discharge from the hospital, the "critical period" is usually passed. However, occasionally complications can occur days after the head injury has happened. For this reason we want you to know what signs to look for which could indicate further problems.

The following signs could indicate that your child is having problems and you should notify your child's doctor, or take him/her to the hospital emergency department for evaluation.
  • Vomiting
  • Extreme drowsiness (unable to be awakened)
  • Sudden confusion
  • Unsteady or weak on their feet
  • Poor hand or arm control
  • Seizures