By Bernadette Coleman, Special Contributor
Children are going to fall, and when they do fall, there is potential for a head injury. As a parent, you can do things to reduce the risk of a head injury by making sure your children wear safety helmets during high risk activities such as biking, skating, or skiing. However, no matter what you do, you cannot completely remove the risk of your child receiving an injury to their head. Consequently, you should be familiar with the signs of a serious head injury so you are better equipped to make an informed decision as to whether you should take your child to see a doctor.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there has been an increase in the number of children brought to the emergency room with traumatic brain injuries. Part of this increase may be due to a higher awareness in parents that even light hits to a child’s head can result in a concussion or some other form of brain injury.
The American Academy of Pediatrics advises parents to have their children seen by a doctor if they receive any hit to the head that is more than just a light bump. Although this may seem like overkill, it is not, because the signs of a brain injury are often subtle and difficult to detect. Additionally, the brain may continue to swell for several hours after a hit to the head, and the symptoms of a serious brain injury may not appear for up to 24 hours after the head injury. Some of the more subtle signs of a brain injury are:
1) Slurred speech or difficulty walking.
2) Dizziness or constant ringing in the ears.
4) Blurred vision.
5) Unequal pupil size.
Other symptoms can include confusion, abnormal behavior, excessive sleepiness, neck pain, or even seizure. If your child has received anything more than a light blow to the head, or if your child displays any of the symptoms of a brain injury, you need to immediately take your child to a doctor.
Children are full of energy, and consequently they are going to occasionally get a bump to the head. For the safety of your child, and for your own piece of mind, you need to make sure you are familiar with the symptoms of a brain injury. Don’t be embarrassed to take your child to the emergency room when they receive a hit to the head, especially if they display any of the symptoms of a serious or traumatic brain injury. Your child’s future quality of life may depend on your quick response. For more information and resources go to TryMunity.com a social network for traumatic brain injury survivors.