First Aid: Head Injuries
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
- 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.
Reviewed by: Kate M. Cronan, MD
Date reviewed: June 2018