First Aid

Most childhood head injuries are minor and hurt only the outside of the head. Rarely, a serious head injury can cause bruising or bleeding in the brain. This type of head injury needs medical care right away.

Signs and Symptoms

Of a mild head injury:

Of a possibly serious head injury:

  • loss of consciousness (passing out)
  • unable to respond
  • obvious serious wound
  • blood or clear fluid from the nose or ear
  • changes in behavior, such as agitation, confusion, or being very sleepy
  • trouble remembering what happened
  • dizziness or stumbling
  • seizure
  • vomiting more than twice or vomiting hours after the injury
  • severe or worsening headache

What to Do

  • Call 911 for any serious head injury. Do not move an unconscious child. If a child is not breathing, do CPR, if you know how, while you wait for help.
  • Call the doctor right away if an infant has a head injury or a child of any age has neck pain or won't stop crying after a head injury.
  • Let the child to sleep if they're tired.

Think Prevention!

  • Childproof your house.
  • Don't use infant walkers.
  • Make sure kids wear protective gear for contact sports, biking, skating, and skateboarding.
Back to Articles


Related Articles

Sports Medicine Center

Get tips on everything from finding the best sport for your kids to preventing and handling injuries.

Read More

Headaches

Lots of kids have headaches from time to time. Find out more about headaches in this article for kids.

Read More

First Aid: Falls

Although most result in mild bumps and bruises, some falls can cause serious injuries that need medical attention.

Read More

Sports Center

This site has tips on things like preparing for a new season, handling sports pressure, staying motivated, and dealing with injuries.

Read More

All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV) Safety

ATVs are off-road vehicles often used for recreation. But kids 16 and younger shouldn't ride them. Find out why, and more, here.

Read More

Head Injuries

Head injuries can be external or internal. Learn more about both kinds, how to prevent them, and what to do if your child is injured.

Read More

Concussions

In a concussion, the brain shifts inside the skull. This can cause a sudden - but usually temporary - disruption in a person's ability to function properly and feel well. Here's what to do if you suspect a concussion.

Read More

Concussions

Concussions are serious injuries that can be even more serious if kids don't get the time and rest needed to heal them completely.

Read More

Seizures

Seizures are caused by a sudden surge of electrical activity in the brain. Find out what you need to know about seizures and what to do if your child has one.

Read More

Childproofing and Preventing Household Accidents

You might think of babies and toddlers when you hear the words "babyproofing" or "childproofing," but unintentional injury is the leading cause of death in kids 14 and under.

Read More

Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor. © 1995-2020 KidsHealth®. All rights reserved. Images provided by The Nemours Foundation, iStock, Getty Images, Veer, Shutterstock, and Clipart.com.

Search our entire site.