Leaflet: Head Injury Advice in Babies, toddlers and children

 

Your child has sustained a head injury. Following a thorough examination we are satisfied that the injury is not serious.

Do expect your child to feel generally miserable and ‘off colour’. These feelings may include feeling sick, dizziness, irritability, or bad temper, problems concentrating, problems sleeping or lack of appetite. Do not force them to eat, but make sure that they have enough to drink.

Do expect your child to be more tired than usual. Allow them to sleep if they want to. See them every hour or so. Do not be confused between normal sleep and unconsciousness – someone who is unconscious cannot be woken up. You need to be satisfied that they are reacting normally to you.

Do expect your child to have moderate headache. Children’s Paracetamol (sugar free) will suffice for this. A young child may only show a headache as fretfulness. These symptoms should improve rapidly.

If you are concerned about any of these symptoms in the first few days, you should take your child to their doctor.If these problems do not go away after 2 weeks, take your child to see their doctor.

Baby:

Encourage your child to have plenty of rest and avoid stressful situations. Your baby should be alert and be easily arousable from sleep. Offer your baby milk feeds as normal. Avoid rich puddings etc, for the first 2 days.

Toddler:

Avoid vigorous play. Offer a light diet avoiding sweets/chocolates and fizzy drinks. DO make sure that there is a nearby telephone and that the child stays within easy reach of medical help.

Things that will help your child get better:

Do encourage your child to have plenty of rest and avoid stressful situations. Do not give them sleeping pills, sedatives or tranquilisers unless they are prescribed for your child by a doctor.

Do not let them play any contact sport (for example, football) for at least 3 weeks without talking to their doctor first.

Do not allow them to return to school until you feel that they have completely recovered.

Do not leave your child alone in the home for the first 48 hours after leaving hospital.

Do make sure that there is a nearby telephone and that the child stays within easy reach of medical help. Even after an apparently minor head injury, complications may occur, but these are rare.

If you notice any of the following signs:

• Unconsciousness, continuing drowsiness or difficulty in waking from sleep

• Appears confused or not understanding what is said

• More than two vomits

• Complaining of severe headache or trouble with their eyesight

• Any loss of balance or problems walking

• Becomes irritable

• Has any kind of attack, which you think is a fit

• Any weakness in one or both arms or legs

• Clear fluid coming out of their ears or nose

• Bleeding from one or both ears

• New deafness in one or both ears

• Cries more than usual or is more difficult to settle than usual

• Fails to grasp objects

• Any abnormal behaviour

Then contact us or your own doctor or contact the Emergency Department without delay.

Call 111 if you urgently need medical help or advice but it’s not a life-threatening situation.

For less urgent health needs, contact your GP or local pharmacist in the usual way.

Visit the Minor Injuries Unit webpage for more information about this service.

Date of creation: April 2019
Date of review: April 2021
URN: 110