How to assess and treat head injuries in children

If you have a little one, you know that kids aren’t always steady on their feet. Indeed, it seems like children receive more than their fair share of bumps and bruises, and, sometimes, these injuries can be pretty serious. Head injuries, in particular, can be frightening, and are associated with effects and complications like problems with vision, hearing, mobility and more. Plus, head injuries can be difficult to assess, which further increases the risks to your child.

Thankfully, with the right information, you can handle head injuries, seek the proper treatment and, most importantly, protect your child’s health and well-being. Keep reading to find out more.

How to assess and treat head injuries in children

 

Assessing a Head Injury

Head injuries fall into one of two categories: internal and external. External injuries are those that affect the scalp, and typically result in bleeding, bruising and/or knotting, while internal injuries involve the skull, the brain, or blood vessels inside the head. Internal head injuries are the more serious of the two, and may lead to bleeding in the brain, the development of tumors and other life-threatening complications.

In the case of brain tumors, minimally-invasive surgical techniques, like those utilized by Dr. Hryar Shahinian of the Skull Base Institute, can be used to remove tumors and damaged tissues. These techniques, which use endoscopic technology and fiber optic video, are designed to shorten the duration of surgery and prevent damage to surrounding areas of the brain. What’s more, according to Dr. Hrayr Shahinian, endoscopic surgical techniques can also promote quicker, healthier post-op recovery.

Fortunately, most childhood head injuries are external and don’t require invasive medical treatment. However, whether the injury is internal or external, call 911, immediately if your child has the following symptoms:

  • Loss of consciousness.
  • Abnormal breathing.
  • Severe head or neck pain. In babies, this may be evidenced by constant crying.
  • Not waking easily after falling asleep.
  • Changes in speech or mobility, including full or partial paralysis.
  • Extreme weakness.
  • Excessive bleeding that can’t be stopped with at-home methods.

 

The Signs of Concussion

Head injuries often result in concussion. If your child displays symptoms like the following, visit your doctor or emergency room right away:

  • Vomiting, especially more than once.
  • Dizziness or “seeing stars.”
  • Anxiousness or irritability.
  • Problems concentrating.
  • Blurred vision or sensitivity to light.
  • Confusion, memory loss or other signs of cognitive impairment.

Treating a Head Injury

If your child hasn’t displayed any of the symptoms listed above, take the following steps in treating their head injury.

 

  • Apply ice. Apply a cold pack directly to the injured area. Leave on for 20 minutes, then reapply every couple hours.
  • Monitor. For 24 hours after a head injury, monitor your child closely. If the injury occurred close to bedtime or nap time, be sure to check on your child’s breathing and coloring as they sleep. If you spot the symptoms of an internal injury, call or visit your doctor, immediately.
  • Enforce rest. Overexertion can exacerbate the symptoms of a head injury. Be sure your child gets plenty of rest in the days following the injury.
  • Trust your instincts. If something just feels “off,” trust your instincts, and visit your doctor right away.

 

Though most childhood head injuries are relatively harmless, they can result in serious risks to your child’s health and well-being. Thankfully, with the tips provided here, you can assess your child’s head injury, seek or administer the proper care, and protect your child from long-term damage or complications.

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