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About head injuries
Most head injuries are not serious and simply result in a bump or bruise. Minor bumps and bruises to the head without any “red flag” symptoms (see below) or change in your child’s normal behaviour can usually be managed at home with the following advice:
- Observe your child closely for the next 2 to 3 days. Check that they respond to you normally
- Give your child pain medicines such as paracetamol or ibuprofen if they are in pain. Always follow the manufacturers’ instructions for the correct dose
- Make sure your child is drinking enough fluid
- Allow your child plenty of rest and avoid stressful environments until they are feeling better
Red flag symptoms
These symptoms are if your child:
- is sleepy and you cannot wake them
- has had three or more separate vomiting episodes
- has a bad headache or is persistently irritable, even after pain medicine
- has difficulty speaking or understanding what you are saying
- has weakness in their arms or legs or loss of balance
- has a convulsion or fit
If any of these symptoms occur, phone 999 for an ambulance or go straight to the nearest A&E department.
Post head injury symptoms
After a head injury your child may experience some symptoms including:
- mild headache, especially while watching TV or on a computer or mobile phone
- tiredness or trouble getting to sleep
- irritability or bad temper
- concentration problems
- feeling sick and/or dizzy
These symptoms are not uncommon and should settle over the next few weeks. If you are worried about any of the symptoms your child is experiencing, or if they are not going away, arrange for your child to see their GP.
Things that will help your child’s recovery if they are experiencing symptoms after a head injury include:
- Avoiding TV, computers, and mobile phones for at least 24 hours after the injury
- Avoiding rough play until they are feeling better
- No contact sports (e.g. football or rugby) until they are feeling completely back to normal and usually not within 3 weeks
Please tell your child’s teachers if they still have any symptoms when they go back to school.
Our aim is to provide information that will help you understand your child’s injury and enable the appropriate after-care. There are lots of useful injury leaflets to download at the Royal Alexandra website.
NHS 111 – 24hr advice line
Brighton Walk-In Centre 0333 321 0946
Practice Plus GP 0300 130 3333
7 days a week 8:00 am to 8:00 pm
The information in this leaflet is for guidance purposes only and is in no way intended
to replace professional clinical advice by a qualified practitioner.