Head trauma, what to do if the baby hits his head

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The child falls and hits his head

The child hit his head. Fortunately, in the vast majority of cases it is a harmless event, which has no consequences: just put a little ice on the bump and keep the baby under control and everything works out.

On the other hand, however, it is equally true that head trauma in children can be very serious, so much so that it is the main cause of mortality in children under two years of age. Here's how to behave.

In this article

  • What to do
  • be careful to assess the situation
  • when to worry: the signs
  • the video on how to recognize the head injury in the child
  • sources and additional material

What to do: Dress up any wounds

The skin of the scalp is heavily supplied with blood vessels, so a small blow is enough to provoke one wound with blood loss also abundant, or a nasty one bump, sign of a subcutaneous hematoma.

To lessen the bump, the best remedy is apply ice or a cold cloth, which limits the formation of the hematoma. To dress the wound, however, just pass one gauze soaked in a common disinfectant - compressing the area for about ten minutes if the bleeding is slow to stop - and then put on a band-aid. Obviously, if the wound appears rather deep or the blood loss does not stop, it is good to go to the hospital, where they will consider whether to put some stitches.

Warning: if the bump does not form it does not mean that nothing has happened, the head injury can be serious anyway. Conversely, if the bump is formed it does not mean either that the situation is particularly serious or, on the contrary, that it is not dangerous because it has "vented" in this way

Assess the situation

Falls are not all the same: hitting your head on a carpet while taking your first steps is different than hitting it hard when falling off a changing table or slipping into a bathtub. In the first case, the baby will most likely cry but after a few minutes - or even moments - he will have returned to his attempts to stand up. It is always better to keep an eye on it in the following hours, but it is unlikely that anything unusual will emerge.

In other cases - or in slightly more uncertain situations, such as a fall from the bed, which is at an average height - it is better to pay more attention. At the slightest doubt, the first thing to do is to contact your doctor or go to the emergency room: the specialists will determine what to do, whether it is an indication to monitor the child at home, a short period of observation in the emergency room or a hospitalization.


First aid, 12 situations in which it is necessary to bring the children

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When should children be taken to the emergency room? Here are 24 situations that require an emergency visit. Sources: Indications from Simeup (Società Del Paesena di ...

Signs to watch out for

Regardless of what the extent of the fall seemed to be, there are a few signs it should trigger a alarm bell and push to take the child to the emergency room, to verify that there is not a internal hematoma or a skull fracture. It happens when the baby:

  • Vomits;
  • bleeding from your ear or nose;
  • loses consciousness;
  • appears in a confused state;
  • has convulsions;
  • behaves differently than usual (for example, he is unusually quiet, when he is very lively, or he cries and fidgets more than normal);
  • you have a severe headache;
  • you experience tiredness and soreness in an arm or leg;
  • you have severe pain in your neck, which could be the expression of a cervical fracture;
  • shows extreme pallor;
  • shows a state of general suffering;
  • has a pupil (the black "dot" in the center of the eye) larger than the other;
  • it is difficult to speak.

Even if at the moment the baby is recovering normally and everything seems fine, as a precaution it is okay observe it in the following 24 hours, because possible consequences can manifest themselves even after a few hours.

Does the child have to wake up to check it?

Some doctors recommend waking him every 2/3 hours even during the night to check that he wakes up without too much difficulty and reacts normally to the mother's signal. Others do not consider it necessary to wake him up, but advise to see how he is anyway, always every two / three hours. You can evaluate if he is sleeping "as usual", and perhaps try to touch or move him to see if he reacts as usual (generally, "disturbed" children change position in sleep). If there seems to be any anomaly, it is actually worth waking him up and seeing how he reacts and if he recognizes mom and dad.

Watch the head injury video

Bibliography and sources

Sources for this article:

advice of Angelo Lavano, Director of the chair of neurosurgery of the "Magna Grecia" University of Catanzaro; advice of Francesco Luzzana, of the emergency room of the ICCS Città Studi of our city; Johns Hopkins Medical information material; information material on the website of the Bambino Gesù Children's Hospital in the city

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Questions and answers

What to do if the baby hit his head? 

To soften the bump, the best remedy is to apply ice or a cold washcloth. To dress the wound, however, just pass a gauze soaked in a common disinfectant.

The child hit his head and the wound is deep: what to do? 

If the wound appears rather deep or the blood loss does not stop, it is good to go to the hospital, where they will consider whether to put some stitches.

  • pediatric first aid
  • the child beats his head
  • bump
  • 1-2 children years
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