Falling and hitting the head is very common. Studies show that
small children had to fall at least 3-4 feet to have internal harm
to the brain. That is waist high or grocery cart handle height.
There are four misconceptions of head injuries.
1. When the child hits their head, a goose bump comes up fast.
That is because there is a blood vessel torn below the skin
and it is bleeding below the scalp.
Ice will not help this. If you cut your leg and you are bleeding
bad from the cut, do you
put ice on it? No. You hold
pressure to clot the bleeding and stop it. What did you do the
last time you hit your head?
You pressed on it with your hand and
it made it feel better. So when the child hits their head, you do
not put ice on it.
You should hold your hand on it for 2
minutes to get the clot to form. It will make it feel better and there
will be only a
small bump instead of the big goose
egg. The child will be crying because he does not know what you
are doing but hold
your hand on it.
Also it does not
make a difference if the swelling goes out or not as to whether or not
there is a clot inside. There is an
old saying that if the swelling comes
out then it did not go in... but that has nothing to do with inside of
the skull. Small firm
goose eggs are usually not fractured
and large (big as your palm or bigger) mushy ones are usually a skull
fractures are not as important as
determining if there is internal damage or blood clot. You can
have serious internal harm
and no fracture.... and visa versa.
2. The child will frequently throw up once after a head injury
and crying. If they throw up 3 or more times then that is
3. It is OK to let the child go to sleep. Just wake them
up every hour during the night to see if you can rouse them. You
have to "keep them awake".
4. The pupils are the last thing to change. When there is
damage from a head injury, first the child will become "drunk" acting.
Staggering slurring speech eyes rolling around drunk. Then
they go into a coma. Then their eyes change. The
pupils are for the ER doctor to use and not helpful for the average
person or parent to use.
So forget the ice, hold pressure, and bring them in immediately if
they are vomiting a lot and acting drunk.