In children, the warning signs of a head injury can be difficult to interpret. Whenever a small child strikes his or her head, the best course of action is to get a physician to inspect the injury. Sometimes, however, a responsible adult may not be around during the time of injury. If you leave your child with a babysitter or at a daycare center, knowing the warning signs of a brain injury can help you get your child the care he or she needs immediately. Look for these common symptoms in children:
- Visible bumps or bruising – If you notice any abnormal bumps or bruises on the head of small children, have them evaluated by a doctor.
- Loss of consciousness – Even a brief blackout may indicate injury and should be evaluated by a doctor.
- Vomiting – Vomiting several times in the absence of other symptoms that indicate illness could be an indication of a head injury.
- Head and neck pain – If your young child complains about head and neck pain or if a child who hasn’t learned to talk cries nonstop, you may want to consider talking them to a doctor. Even if you did not witness an accident, your child may have fallen or hit his or her head.
- Abnormal communication and motor skills – Be aware of any child that is stumbling around or talking oddly, which are both signs of brain injury.
- Difficulty waking up – Call emergency services immediately if you have difficulty waking your child up.
- Seizure –A seizure may indicate an intracranial injury, and always requires medical attention.
If you do witness the accident that caused injury, you may be able to determine the extent of injury prior to seeking medical attention. For instance, falling down while playing may not be as serious as being hit in the head with a baseball bat. Remember to use a nurse hotline or call 911 if you are unsure about an injury.
Younger children and babies are more susceptible to severe injury from common accidents, and a doctor should always evaluate babies younger than 3 months to determine injury. Babies cannot tell you what hurts, and it may be difficult to determine why a baby is fussier than normal. If your child is older, seek medical attention within the first one or two days if minor symptoms, like pain, persist. Any of the other symptoms including imbalance, seizures, vomiting, and unconsciousness require immediate emergency medical attention.
Noting where a child has been hit can also help you assess the severity of the situation. Impact to the front or rear of the head does not result in injury as often as an impact to the side of the head. Most of the time, emergency room physicians will look at all of the above factors to determine whether your child is at risk for a more severe head injury. Unless there is a visible, severe injury, many patients are closely evaluated over a 24-hour period of time.
Even small impact accidents can lead to severe consequences over time. The way in which a child’s head is impacted heavily influences the severity of the injury. Even if you do not notice visible damage, keep assessing your child’s behavior over the next few days.
When to Contact an Attorney
The majority of head injuries in children are truly accidents and will heal over time. However, injuries caused by assault or a car accident may require long-term medical care. If you suspect that another person is responsible for your child’s injury, reach out to the Dallas child injuries attorney at The Benton Law Firm for a free consultation. We can help you determine the best course of action to protect your family and start the healing process. Call (214) 777-7777 today.