Bumped baby’s head… what should you do now?

By: - 27th February 2019

A house with a child is always busy. It is natural for them to be mischievous, loud, and chaotic. It is difficult to prevent accidents and they cannot be easily brushed off. This is why everyone who lives in a household with children has to always stay alert in order to prevent accidents that can happen in their childishness. A child falling always causes mother to panic. If the child hurts her head too, the panic doubles and triples without a doubt.

The brain is the main control center of the human body. Hitting the head is one of the main instances in which the brain can be damaged and hence cannot be overlooked thinking that there’s no risk whatsoever. However, it would not be a serious situation unless the child’s head was knocked really hard. Today, we hope to give you some information on this regard.

Children falling from not so tall places and getting bumps on where they hit their heads is a common occurrence. When the head gets knocked hard, the veins on the skin of the head get damaged, and due to the blood that’s released, there could be a swelling between the skull and the skin. You do need to panic so much in this situation. Usually it will go away on its own and mostly requires no treatments. Mothers are generally in the habit of doing home remedies such as keeping ice on the bump and applying butter.

When a child falls from a tall place and hits the head hard, things can get serious. The reason is the complications from the bleeding that happens between the brain and the dura layer that covers the brain. A pressure inside the brain can cause the lower part of the brain to compress the cerebellum and the spinal cord, possibly putting the child’s life at risk. In such cases, an external bump may not appear although an internal swelling can happen, and sometimes, there may be a skull fracture.

It is normal for a child to cry intensely due to the shock and the pain, and as adults, its vital to know the necessary first aid treatments until the child is taken to the doctor.

Most mothers tend to put the child to sleep to ease the situation. This should not be done. According to medical instructions, a child should be kept awake at least for 2 hours after a considerably hard knock on the head.

Also, if the child vomits or become unconscious, seek medical advice immediately.

When the head is wounded, keep ice to minimize the bleeding and cover with a clean cloth and seek medical advice. Do not attempt to clean the wound.

If a child who has been healthy for the last 24 hours knocks his head and…

  • Cries without stopping
  • Complains of pain
  • Vomits
  • Looks dazed or becomes unconscious
  • Breathes too fast
  • Has a fast heart rate
  • Cannot walk straight

He or she is showing the symptoms of a complicated condition caused by internal bleeding and requires medical attention immediately. In such cases, scan tests will be done to identify the injury and surgery will be done if needed.

The damage caused by an intense hit on the head can escalate to conditions such as paralysis or long term disability of arms and legs and hearing and visual impairments. Therefore, always provide your utmost care for your children and keep them safe.

Prepared in consultation with Dr M.N. Jayawardena, Senior Registrar in Mycology at the Medical Research Institute of Sri Lanka

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