Concussion Symptoms in Young Children
Very young children (i.e., infants, toddlers, and preschoolers) often bump and bruise their heads. This can happen as a result of motor vehicle crashes, falls, getting hit in the head with a ball or toy, from tricycle/bike accidents, or other means. Most head injuries in children are minor. However, sometimes these events can be serious and result in a concussion.
Young children are more likely to have an accident or fall as they learn new skills such as walking, running, and jumping.
Bumps, cuts, and scrapes on the head and face usually heal well and can be treated the same as injuries to other parts of the body. A superficial cut on the head often bleeds heavily because the face and scalp have many blood vessels close to the surface of the skin. This bleeding is alarming, but often the injury is not severe and the bleeding will stop with home treatment.
Young children can have the same symptoms of a concussion as older children and adults. But sometimes it can be hard to tell if a small child has a concussion. If a child has a concussion, an adult should monitor him or her for the first 24 hours. It’s important to watch for behavioral changes. Young children, especially, may not be able to fully communicate what they are feeling, so it is critical to watch them closely. Do not give medications, including aspirin, which may cause bleeding, to a child without consulting a doctor.
In addition to the list given above, young children may also have symptoms like:
- Crying more than usual.
- Headache that does not go away.
- Changes in the way they play or act.
- Changes in the way they nurse, eat, or sleep.
- Being upset easily or having more temper tantrums.
- A sad mood.
- Lack of interest in their usual activities or favorite toys.
- Loss of new skills, such as toilet training.
- Loss of balance and trouble walking.
- Not being able to pay attention.