Clinical Reference Systems: Pediatric Advisor 10.0
Head Trauma - Brief Version
What is head trauma?
Most head injuries hurt only the scalp, not the brain. Your
child might have a big lump even if it was a minor injury
because there is a large blood supply to the scalp. For the
same reason small cuts on the head may bleed a lot. Only 1%
to 2% of injured children have a skull fracture. Your child
has not had a concussion unless there is temporary
unconsciousness, confusion, and amnesia (loss of memory).
How can I take care of my child?
- Wound care. Wash any scrapes with soap and water. Apply
pressure with a clean cloth (sterile gauze if you have
it) for 10 minutes to stop any bleeding. For swelling,
apply ice for 20 minutes.
- Rest. Encourage your child to lie down and rest until
all symptoms are gone (or at least 2 hours). Your child
can be allowed to sleep. You don't have to try to keep
him awake. Just have him sleep nearby so you can check
on him from time to time. Don't give any pain medicine.
If the headache is bad enough to need medicine, your
child should be checked by a physician.
- Diet. Give only clear fluids (ones you can see through)
until your child has gone 2 hours without vomiting.
- Special precautions. Awaken your child twice during the
night, once at your bedtime and once 4 hours later.
Arouse him until he is walking and talking normally. Do
this for two nights. After that, return to a normal
Call your child's doctor right away if:
- The skin is split open and might need stitches.
- The headache becomes severe.
- Vomiting occurs three or more times.
- Your child's vision becomes blurred or double.
- Your child becomes difficult to awaken or confused.
- Walking or talking becomes difficult.
- Your child's neurological condition worsens in any other