The severity of the head injury depends on the height from which your baby fell and hit their head on the floor. Usually, it’s only a mild head injury, and it’s the crying of the baby which makes things more serious than they’re. Mild head injuries can be treated with an ice pack, plenty of rest, and keeping your baby under observation. When and if there’s a severe head injury, there’re several signs and symptoms your baby will show, and just the way they behave or cry will notify you of how serious the issue is. Take your baby to the pediatrician if you have any doubts. You need to consider several ways to prevent future heady injuries caused by falling down.
The cutest stage of any baby is when they learn to crawl or walk with their big wobbly heads to maintain their posture. At the same time, it’s also quite dangerous to leave them alone or at places from where they might fall. But even if you’re the most careful parent, there might be a chance of your baby falling and hitting its head.
It’s right for you to panic in such situations, but as a parent, you need to move fast and remain calm to see the level of injury. Most often, it’s nothing, and things can be handled by icing the area, but in rare cases, it might lead to something serious.
Baby’s hitting their head is something you can’t wholly avoid, and one way or another, they might end up being in such a situation, but it’s what comes after they hit their head that’s important. There’re several signs to watch out for!
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The reason your baby hits their head
Most babies accidentally end up hitting their head, be it falling from a place and hitting their head on the floor or just bumping or colliding into things like doors or walls.
Most times, the situation isn’t that serious, but you get worried nevertheless and think about it again and again or how you could have avoided this situation.
You need to understand that your baby’s head is slightly larger than their body at this stage, and they haven’t learned how to balance their body with their head. As they grow, their physical strength and abilities constantly change, affecting their coordination ability.
Because of this, you can see them even falling while sitting in their crib or tumbling down as they crawl or try to walk. During this time, your baby is even exploring new things, so they are pretty reckless, and with no knowledge or understanding of what’s dangerous, the chances of hitting their head increase.
The important thing is the distance between the floor and their falling from a certain height. They’re fine if they fall backward while crawling or sitting on the floor, but there might be a chance of severe head injury when falling from a bed. Therefore, you need to examine their heads.
Types of head injuries
Your baby’s head injury depends on the height from which they have fallen, and it can be as much as a small bump or lead to a severe injury.
1. Mild head injury
Mild head injury is related to those treatable injuries at home, and there’s no underlying head injury. A bump or “goose egg” on the head can be treated at home by icing the head and waiting out a bit.
Your baby might be in discomfort for a while, but there should be no other head injury symptoms.
2. Severe head injury
Severe brain injury is the kind of head injury that requires immediate medical attention, which could include:
- Skull fractures
- Contusions (when the brain is bruised)
- Concussions in babies (when the brain is shaken). Sign for it includes headaches, blurred vision, loss of consciousness, changes in alertness, or nausea and vomiting.
- Bleeding in the brain or around the layers surrounding the brain
A traumatic brain injury can result in a fractured skull, putting pressure on the brain and causing tears in blood vessels and nerves, causing swelling, bruising, or bleeding inside or around the brain. This is rare, but it can happen depending on the force with which your baby has fallen.
If your baby is showing any of the following signs of injury, then critical medical attention is necessary:
- Uncontrolled bleeding from a cut
- A dent or bulging soft spot on the skull
- Excessive bruising and or swelling
- Vomiting more than once
- Unusual sleepiness and or difficulty staying alert
- Loss of consciousness or not responding to voice or touch
- Blood or fluid draining from the nose or ears
- A seizure
- A suspected neck/spinal cord injury
- Trouble breathing
When there’s uncontrolled bleeding, take a clean cloth and use it to put pressure on the cut from where the blood is gushing out and call for help. Don’t remove the fabric until you reach the nearest emergency department.
How to treat head injury
It can be heartbreaking to watch your child fall on the ground and hit their head, but in most cases, things are under control as the injury is mild enough to be treated at home. Your crying baby makes things more severe and launches you into panic mode.
Things are more complicated as they haven’t learned to speak correctly yet, so they can’t communicate which part hurts the most. So, you have to wait and watch your baby, their actions and behavior, and their head for signs of injuries.
If there’re any severe signs, they’ll come into observation in the next 48 hours, and until then, it’s a mild brain injury that can be treated by doing a few things such as:
- Apply ice or cold compress on the injury spot and make sure it’s wrapped in a cloth before applying.
- If the cut is minor, you can clean and bandage it at home.
- Check your baby’s pupils, and if there’s inconsistency, such as the size increases and decreases continuously, then visit a doctor.
- Make sure you sleep with your baby for a few days to help them and observe them.
Many parents still can’t handle their baby in even the slightest of discomfort, so in such cases, you should call the pediatrician just to be sure. It’s okay if you can’t be brave now, and it’s normal to seek help to ensure your baby’s safety.
The pediatrician can evaluate your baby’s head for any injuries and even conduct some neurological tests or scans to see if things are okay with your baby. Follow your doctor’s order to help your baby recover faster.
Tips to prevent your baby from falling
Some safety measures to follow includes:
- Install baby gates at the top and bottom of the stairs
- Make sure there’s no pool of water collected anywhere and clean it immediately if there’s any water for it can increase the risk of falling.
- Have bathroom mats placed near the shower and outside it to prevent any incident.
- Never leave your baby alone on elevated surfaces that have no safety, for it can cause loss of balance.
- Childproof the house.
- Never shake or jolt your baby.
- Use car seats whenever traveling in a car.
- Don’t place your baby on regular chairs.
- Keep things away which can be climbed.
- Avoid infant walkers with a wheel as they can cause the baby to trip.
- When playing, make sure the area is safe and has soft mats placed on the ground.
How do I know if my baby is okay after a fall?
As parents, we can quickly tell if there’s a difference in our baby’s crying, so when they fall and hit their head, you will definitely know if things are serious and whether you need to take them to the hospital or not.
Some obvious signs to watch out for:
– Loss of consciousness
– Discharge of blood coming out of ears or nose
– Bruising of swelling along with the head or obvious skull fracture.
If the injury is mild, it can be treated with an ice pack, lots of rest, and keeping an eye on your baby to see if there’re any after-effects.
Can a baby sleep after hitting its head?
There’s a difference between falling asleep after some time and immediately after hitting their head for babies.
Your baby can seem acceptable to you after they hit their head, but if they immediately start to fall asleep or lose their consciousness within a couple of minutes, then it could be a sign of concussion. It’s best to keep them awake and take them to the doctor for an examination.
But other times, your baby might just want to sleep after like half an hour of hitting their head because all the crying has made them tired, and they just want to rest to recover. Let them sleep if there’re no other symptoms.
How do I know if my baby has brain damage after falling?
Physical symptoms for brain damage would include a small head or skull, a prominent forehead, a malformed spine, stiffness in the neck, unusual or distorted facial features, and abnormal eye movement. Other symptoms include having seizures.
How do you know if a baby has a brain bleed?
– Pauses in breathing (apnea)
– Slow heart rate (bradycardia)
– Pale or blue coloring (cyanosis)
– Weak suck
– High-pitched cry
– Lethargy, stupor, or coma
– Swelling or bulging of the soft spots between the bones of the baby’s head
– Low red blood cell count (anemia)
– Decreased reflexes
– Decreased muscle tone
– Abnormal eye movement
When it comes to baby’s hitting their head on the floor, the severity of the head injury depends greatly on the height from which they fell. It can be traumatic for both the baby and the parents, but 90% of the head injuries are mild and can be treated at home and kept under observation.
The other 10% result in severe injuries for which there might be immediate signs which can notify you to call for help.
You can’t stop your baby from exploring or playing and discovering new things around them, and during such adventures, it’s inevitable for them to hit their heads and have minor head injuries.
What you can control is to make sure they don’t receive serious head injuries that can harm them severely or make their life difficult in any way.