Any child who has hit his or her
head should be watched for several days after the injury. Home treatment can
help relieve swelling and bruising of the skin or scalp and pain that occurs
with a minor head injury.
If your child had an accident, try to remain
calm and speak to your child in a calm, relaxed voice. This will help reduce
your child's fear and allow you to assess the situation.
child has a cut that is bleeding, apply firm pressure directly over the cut
with a clean cloth or bandage for 15 minutes. See
how to stop bleeding. If the cut is deep and may have penetrated the skull,
emergency treatment is needed.
Check for injuries to other parts of
the body, especially if the child has fallen. The alarm from seeing a head
injury may cause you to overlook other injuries that need
ice or cold packs to reduce the swelling. A "goose egg" lump may appear
anyway, but ice will help ease the pain. Always keep a cloth between your
child's skin and the ice pack. Do not apply ice for longer than 15 to 20
minutes at a time, and do not let your child fall asleep with the ice on his or
If your child is seen by a doctor
Be sure to follow
the instructions given to you by your child's doctor. You may need to watch
your child closely for the next 24 hours or longer. Here are some general
Check for the following signs of problems from
a head injury every 2 hours for the next 24 hours.
Call911or go to an emergency room immediately if you notice changes and cannot
wake your child (unconsciousness). Seek medical care if your child has
any symptoms of a serious head injury, such as:
Continue to check on your child often during the
night. If your child had a head injury right before going to bed or taking a
nap and falls asleep soon afterward, check him or her for changes in color or
breathing, or twitching arms or legs. You don't need to try to wake your child
unless you notice changes.
Do not give any medicine, including
acetaminophen, such as Tylenol, to a child
you are watching for signs of a more serious head injury unless your doctor
tells you to.