Your baby is okay after falling off the bed and hitting his head if he acts normal after it. Acting normally means he does not lose consciousness, is not vomiting, has no dizziness, and is not lethargic. Babies tend to cry after the fall because they are hurt or shocked, but it should not last for more than 10 minutes. Some children may experience a concussion, but as long as he is alert and responds to you, it is nothing worrisome.
Head injury in children may develop in up to 48 hours, but it is very rare. However, you still need to observe his behavior closely during this period.
If you have any concerns, do call your doctor promptly for reassurance and guidance.
Head injury in babies
Head injury from falls is the common cause of hospital attendance in young children.
But according to Dr. Elizabeth Powell, a pediatrician and spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics, traumatic brain injuries are rare among little kids.
That’s because the skull is very protective and will repair its fracture unless there is bleeding underneath.
A small fall is rarely fatal, and only a small proportion can result in intracranial injury to the brain.
Babies younger than 1-year-old are more prone to head injury from falls, and its prevalence decreases with age.
What are the symptoms of head injury?
I once experienced my young nephew falling off the bed and hitting his head on the floor during my watch.
I was stricken with anxiety for the next few hours, especially when he began to get drowsy.
As a nurse, I knew that it was not something I should just set aside. But, on the other hand, my common sense said it was probably because it was time for his usual nap.
I was still torn between putting him to sleep or letting him stay awake. Other than the drowsiness, I did not see anything amiss, and my instinct told me that he was okay, which he was.
If you are in the same situation, the best thing to do is let the child rest and observe.
A head injury, which will need medical assistance, occurs when the child exhibits the following symptoms after the fall:
- Unusual paleness
- Losing balance
- Vomiting two or more times
- Extreme sleepiness
- Difficult to wake up
- Irritable and fussy
- One pupil is larger than the other
- Exhibiting uncommon behavior
In toddlers and older children who can speak, they may complain about:
- Tingling on one side of the body
- Weakness or numbness of arms or legs
- Ringing in the ear
- Blurry vision
- Constant headache
What to do if your baby falls
Panicking is the initial reaction that parents do whenever a child falls or even stumbles. But ideally, you need to remain calm in the situation even when you are seeing blood.
If a baby falls and hits and cuts his head, you can expect a bloody mess as the scalp holds a lot of small vessels.
Remember these tips to keep your cool and sanity after a child’s fall:
- Assess your child for injury. Check for scrapes and cuts and make sure that there are no serious wounds.
- Check for broken bones.
- If the baby doesn’t appear to have a severe injury, pick him up and comfort him.
- If your baby looks okay, let him rest and continue observing him for the next 12 hours.
- When the fall is severe, and you observe unusual changes and symptoms, call your doctor.
You can apply ice on the head as tolerated as you watch out for changes in his demeanor.
As parents, your instinct will tell you when the situation warrants a call to the doctor. If unsure, make the call to give you peace of mind.
Signs your baby might have had a concussion
A concussion is a trauma to the head that causes the brain to stop working temporarily and commonly happens after a fall.
It is a mild form of traumatic brain injury (TBI), but it does not usually cause permanent damage to the brain.
It is difficult to assess concussion in babies who cannot tell you exactly what they feel. However, you may notice regression in their developmental skills during the observation stage.
Babies with concussions show the following signs and symptoms:
- Fussy during feeding
- Cries more than usual and in a more particular position
- Has changes in sleep pattern
How to care for your baby after a fall
A concussion is not permanent, and its primary treatment is getting enough rest.
Let your child sleep, encourage more nap times, and avoid giving him screen time. Please do not allow him to use the gadgets or watch the television.
For mild injuries, you can apply a cold compress to the bump to reduce its swelling.
If the injury is serious and symptoms show up, take your baby to the ER. Head injuries are assessed using CT Scans to check for bleeding or skull fracture.
But again, most childhood falls are not serious, and a CT scan is unnecessary. It can expose your child to radiation, and doctors use it only in severe cases.
Can I treat bumps at home?
Definitely. Bumps are not always serious, again, if without other symptoms. It can be treated at home with a cold compress.
How long will a concussion heal?
Depending on the severity of the fall, concussions may heal for weeks or take up to years.
Is it okay to let the baby sleep after the fall?
Yes. When it rolls to his naptime or bedtime, let your baby rest and sleep as you wait and observe.
Waking them at regular intervals or after a few hours is also recommended to ensure that the baby is still reusable.
If your baby does not appear dazed and is alert upon waking up, he is all fine.
A fall is a common accident that parents want to avoid but still happens anyway. At some point, your baby can bump his head and set you in a panic.
Fortunately, most falls are not serious and will not cause brain damage or require medical attention.
Serious brain injury is rare and only happens when the fall is severe and physical and behavioral symptoms occur. Knowing what to watch out for will give you peace of mind or when to initiate an emergency call.
If you are uneasy and your instinct tells you it is necessary, do not hesitate to call your doctor for advice.