Q&A: Concussion?
My toddler recently rolled off the bed and bumped her head. What are the signs of concussion, when should I worry and what signs can I look for to see if she is okay?

Simon Strachan (Paediatrician) answers:

This is one of those terrible events that are almost a rite of passage. I am sure just about every parent can relate to your angst. Thankfully this type of accident almost never results in any serious injury, probably because the child rarely falls directly on to her head but rather takes the impact on another part of her body. The skull of a young child is not a solid structure as the fontanelles and the sutures have not yet fused together. This means that even if your daughter fell directly onto her head, her skull is able to absorb the pressure without breaking a bone.

If your child bangs her head again check that she is not unconscious. Check that she is able to sit up, stand or walk relevant to her age – basically that she can do those things she was able to do before she banged her head.

Children often vomit after they bang their head. If the vomiting continues or if it is associated with loss of consciousness, dizziness, loss of balance, slurred speech or extreme sleepiness, go to the nearest emergency facility.

A lump often develops at the point of maximum impact. If this swelling continues to enlarge or feels soft and boggy or is bleeding, then also go to the emergency room. If she falls and cries for a few minutes and has an egg on her head with no other worrying signs, then you don’t need to worry.

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