How to respond to head injuries in children

Often a baby turns on the changing table for the first time, when left alone for a moment. Or the first crawling attempts lead straight to an unsecured staircase. Almost half of all accidental injuries in the home are falls and often the child ends up on his head. Since the severity of a head injury from the outside is so difficult to estimate, the child must be observed even after a long time after the accident for complications.

Symptoms may be delayed

For example, even a slight head trauma, which externally looks rather harmless, can trigger internal bleeding. The pressure of the escaping blood can lead to tissue damage in the brain. The treachery of it: The symptoms of the injuries can occur much later than the fall, namely only after 24 to 48 hours! Even severe injuries are not always immediately recognizable: at first, only a few symptoms show, hours later, the condition of the child deteriorates dramatically.

Typical head injuries

A force on the head can cause different injuries, eg:

Concussion: The most common and mildest consequence of a head injury. The child is usually unconscious, but unconscious for only seconds to a few minutes. Sometimes unconsciousness is so short that it is not even noticed by the helper. Typical symptoms include dizziness, headaches, a memory gap related to the accident, nausea and vomiting. The child is tired or dizzy; it may be delayed in time (after about 30-60 min.) To vomit several times.

The skull base fracture can be recognized by the leakage of blood or aqueous nerve water from the nose, mouth or ear. Characteristic are bruises around one or both eyes (so-called spectacle hematoma), which, however, adjust only later. The child is usually unconscious, sometimes cramps occur. If organs of the inner ear are affected, dizziness, nausea and vomiting can occur.

Brain Bruise, Brain Bruise: By force on the head, blood vessels can burst under the skull. The resulting bruise can put pressure on the brain. Either the child is unconscious immediately or it suddenly loses consciousness with a time delay. It is also possible that it complains of increasing headache and it then comes to nausea, vomiting, hiccups, paralysis and mental changes (restlessness, listlessness, memory disorders). If the pressure is not relieved, consciousness disorders up to a coma can be the result. The child is in mortal danger and urgently needs intensive medical care.

Measures after a fall with a head injury

  • Ask him age-related, unambiguous questions, such as, "Do you know where you are?", Should I read you a story? "Watch your child closely for unusual behavioral changes.
  • Store it flat with a slightly raised head, cover it warm and ensure peace.
  • Try to calm the child down (give him a familiar cuddly toy, tell him a favorite story); but it should not fall asleep.
  • Check your pulse and breathing regularly. Do not leave the child alone.
  • Contact the ambulance if: the child becomes unconscious, vomits giddily, is drowsy or dizzy, shows behavioral problems, complains of severe headache, has seizures, leaks fluid (watery or bloody) from the nose or ear, the child's pupils are unevenly large,

In unconsciousness and regular breathing:

  • Contact the ambulance.
  • Place the child in a stable lateral position (children under two years in stable prone position) to keep the airways clear.
  • Keep track of the duration of unconsciousness.
  • Check your pulse and breathing regularly.

For cardiac and respiratory arrest:

  • Contact the ambulance.
  • Begin immediately with mouth-to-nose resuscitation and heart massage.
  • Continue with the measures until the emergency doctor takes over!

How can you prevent head injuries?

  • Make your apartment child-safe: Windows should only be tiltable or secured with bars. The same applies to stairs and balconies: they should be secured with a railing or bars. For corners and sharp edges of furniture there are special plastic caps.
  • Non-slip socks in the crawling age or slippers in toddler provide security at home and in kindergarten.
  • Never leave a child unaware of the changing table, highchair, cot or stroller.
  • Running learning aids (eg walker, baby walker, learner school) are not recommended. They can cause accidents in which children suffer serious head injuries.
  • When cycling, the helmet is mandatory in children!
  • Play and climbing frames or swings represent a significant risk of falling. Do not let small children play there unsupervised. Stand these scaffolding on a soft ground or lawn, reduces the risk considerably.
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