At‑Home First Aid For Head Injury in Children


Jan 6, 2016


Head injury in children is one of the most common forms of childhood ailments. It’s also one of the most terrifying, for kids and parents alike. The fear is not without reason — severe head injury in children can be life threatening.

But not all bumps and bruises are created equal. Most head injury in children are mild, and kids suffering from them require only a short recovery and experience no further complications.

That said, it’s crucial to know how to distinguish between mild and severe head injury symptoms – and head injury treatment is in each scenario.

Symptoms of head injury in children (severe)

If your child experiences any of the below symptoms of head injury in children after experiencing a blow to the head, you should immediately initiate first aid for head injury (or neck or spinal injury) – that is, immobilise her, keep her calm, and call for help — and take her to the nearest hospital.

Severe head injury symptoms include:

  • Change in or loss of consciousness (even only momentarily)
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Blurred vision, difficulty focusing eyes, or eye pupils of unequal size
  • Inability to move a body part
  • Severe headache or pain in the head, neck or back area
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of balance
  • Constant and/or reoccurring dizziness
  • Blood or fluid from the ears or nose
  • Abnormal swelling of the scalp
  • Seizure
  • Confused or slurred speech

Symptoms of head injury in children (mild)

Mild head injury treatment depends on the child’s age and his symptoms. If your child is under the age of 1 year and has experienced any loss of consciousness (even momentarily), call your pediatrician or take him to the nearest hospital.

  If you have any doubts about your child’s well-being after a blow to the head, always contact your pediatrician or take him to the nearest hospital.

If, however, your child is older than 1 year and has had no loss of consciousness, head injury treatment can happen at home. Encourage him to rest or do a quiet activity. If he falls asleep, that’s fine; just check on him at regular intervals to make sure he is sleeping comfortably and normally.

He might experience mild swelling, or a slight bump. You can treat this by applying an ice pack to the injured area for 15 to 20 minutes three to four times a day. If the blow has caused a wound that bleeds, wash the area with soap and water and apply pressure to the area with a clean cloth. (If bleeding does not stop within 10 minute,s or if the cut is large, take him to your pediatrician.)

Observe your child over the next 24 hours. If his behaviour becomes unusual, take him to the nearest hospital for professional head injury treatment.

How to prevent head injury in children

As with all injuries, prevention is better than cure. In order to avoid any of the above scenarios of head injury treatment:

  • Use and install car and booster seats correctly. These should be age- and weight-appropriate for your child and used every time your child travels in a car.
  • Put up childproof locks and safety rails on all balconies and windows.
  • Ensure that your child uses the appropriate safety equipment for sports, for example, a correctly fitted helmet for cycling.
  • Supervise your child during playground play, particularly when she is climbing on a climbing frame or a tall slide.
  • Teach your child to dive correctly and determine that the depth of the pool is sufficient for diving.

Finally, since the result of a severe head injury in children can be so serious, if you have any doubts at all as to your child’s well-being after he or she has experienced a blow to the head, always contact your pediatrician or take him or her to the nearest hospital to be checked. Better to be safe than sorry!


Written By Keshinee Shah

Ms. Keshinee Shah is an international lawyer and management consultant, with 20 years of first aid experience. She is a first aid instructor and has been conducting training in first aid under Emergency First Response for parents, students, care-givers and professionals, both in India and the UK, since 2011. Keshinee also holds a Diploma in Infant Massage from the UK.


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