At one point or another, all kids knock themselves on the noggin. Fortunately, most of these knocks cause more parental alarm than actual harm, despite impressive-looking goose eggs. Generally, for a head injury to be serious, a child must either fall more than four feet, be thrown a distance, land on something with a sharp edge, or be purposely hit with something by a large person. But it's always good to know what to look for when a head knock occurs.
Symptoms to Watch for
A concussion may occur after a head bump. Symptoms range from subtle to obvious but do not usually include loss of consciousness. All kids with concussions need to see a doctor right away and be observed for a period of time. Other worrisome signs to look for after a head injury include:
If any of these symptoms are present, bring your child to a physician or an emergency room right away.
What to Expect
Remember that it's perfectly natural for a child to be upset after she’s received a bump. You can expect her to be clingy and to want to rest. You're the one who knows your child best, so you’re in the best position to judge whether her behavior is any cause for worry. What you're looking for is an essential change or a real downturn, over hours or days that is very different from how your child normally behaves.
Take These Steps
After a bump on the head, there are things you can do to monitor the seriousness of the injury:
Count on This
The bumped area will turn colors over the next several days. If your child was knocked on the forehead or in the middle of the face, he'll soon have a black (or yellow or green) eye.
Head injuries bleed a lot and cause big bumps and lots of bruising because of the rich blood supply in this area. It always looks worse than it is. I still remember my mom's response when my brother was hit by a golf club and was covered with blood from a scalp cut. She passed out, hit her head, and had to stay overnight in the hospital. My brother was fine.