Head Bump Alert: What to Do When Your Baby Falls (or You Drop Her)
Children fall all the time — it’s part of growing up! And dropping a baby … well, it’s a thing that happens to parents; it doesn’t make you a terrible person. However, head injury in children, particularly head injuries in babies, can be serious, even fatal — that moment your baby fell on her head, or your toddler hit his head, is not the moment you want to have wondered, “What do I do?” So, here’s your guide to what to do when your baby falls, or your toddler has a goose egg head injury.
What to do when your baby falls or toddler bumps her head
Contact your pediatrician or take your child to the hospital immediately, if s/he…
- Is under 1 year of age
- Loses consciousness, even momentarily
- Is unable to move her limbs, or move at all
- Has difficulty waking
- Has eye pupils of an unequal size
- Seems confused or is unable to recognise her surroundings
- Vomits repeatedly
- Is crying for an unusually long period
If your child is vomiting or has a seizure, turn her onto her side while keeping the head and neck straight. This will help prevent choking and provide protection in case of neck and spine injury. To move your child, use the log roll method and plank lift method , keeping her head, neck and spine as straight as possible.
If your child is older than 1 year and has not lost consciousness …
Wait before you pick her up to ensure that she can move and can use her limbs. If she can move her limbs, without shifting her position, look for:
- any bumps on her head
- any unusual eye movements or an inability to focus
- blood or clear fluid in her ears
- any bruising, particularly behind the ears
If your child has none of these signs of concussion in a toddler, but is alert and behaving normally, then apply an ice pack to the injured area three to four times a day, for 15 to 20 minutes each time. Observe her over the next 24 hours: if she starts behaving unusually or demonstrates any of the following signs of head injury in children, take her to the hospital.
Signs of head injury in children
- Loss of consciousness, even momentarily
- Inability to focus
- Inability to move her limbs
- Continued vomiting (or vomiting more than once)
- Loss of balance
- Tingling or numbness in hands, fingers, feet or toes
- Pain in the head, back of neck, or back
Most importantly, trust your instincts as a parent. If your child is behaving unusually after bumping his head or falling, consult a pediatrician or visit a hospital immediately. Also, make sure all caregivers — nannies, extended family, etc. — know the signs of head injury in children and how to respond.