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Common Head Injuries in Children

Common Head Injuries in Children

Head injuries are a broad term that describes the plethora of injuries that occur to the scalp, skull, brain or any underlying tissue and blood vessels in a child's head and is the most common disability and death. The head injury can be as mild as a bump, bruise or small cut on the top of the head, or it can go as far as to be a concussion, deep cut/open wound or a fractured skull. Head injuries are also commonly known as brain injuries or traumatic brain injuries (TBI), depending on the extent of the trauma. To find out the most common head injuries, the symptoms that come with them and the treatment process, continue reading.  

Concussion 

A concussion is a head injury that can result in an instant loss of awareness or alertness that could last a few minutes or up to a few hours after the traumatic event occurred. Some concussions can be mild and not last long or sometimes, it can go unrecognized.  

Contusion 

A contusion, or a brain bruise, causes bleeding and swelling on the inside of the brain around the area where the injury occurred. In some cases, a contusion can occur on the opposite side of the head as a result of the brain hitting the skull. This injury can happen from a direct hit to the head, violent shaking of a child or a whiplash-type of injury from a car accident. The jarring motion of the brain against the sides of the skull can cause tearing of the internal lining, tissues and blood vessels.  

Skull Fracture 

A skull fracture is a break in the skull bone. There are four main types of skull fractures including linear, depressed, diastatic, and basilar skull fractures. A linear skull fracture is a break in the bone that does not actually move the bone. Your child might be kept in the hospital for a short time just to be watched closely; however, they can go back to normal activities in just a few days. No further treatment is necessary. A depressed skull fracture is where part of your skill is sunken in where the bone is broken. If the inner part of your skull is pressed against your brain, then you will need surgery in order to help fix it.  

A diastatic skull fracture occurs along the suture lines in the skull. These are the jagged lines between the skull bones that fuse together as a child grows. With a diastatic fracture, the normal suture lines are widened. This is most common in newborns and infants. The final skull fracture is a basilar skull fracture which is a break in the bone at the base of the skull and can be a serious type of fracture. Children who have this skull fracture may have bruising around their eyes and behind their ear and may also present clear fluid that is draining from their nose or ears due to a tear in part of the covering of the brain. When this type of fracture occurs, a child may need to be watched closely in the hospital.  

What Causes a Brain Injury? 

There are many things that may cause a brain injury. The most common ones are sports injuries, falling, a motor vehicle accident or a result of child abuse – these are also more common in males than females. It is shown that head injuries are more common in the spring and summer months when children are usually more active outdoors with activities like riding bikes or skateboarding. Head injuries are also likely to occur in sports such as football, soccer, hockey and basketball.  

What are the Symptoms of a Head Injury? 

There are a few common symptoms that you can be on the lookout for if you think your child might have a head injury. For a mild head injury, symptoms may include a raised, swollen area from a bump or bruise, small superficial cut in the scalp, headache, sensitivity to noise and light, irritability and confusion. For moderate or severe head injuries, symptoms may include loss of consciousness, severe headache that doesn’t go away, slurred speech, difficulty walking, short-term memory loss or repeated nausea and vomiting.  

Treatment 

Your child’s health care provider will determine the best treatment for them based on how old your child is, their health and medical history, how sick they are, how well your child can handle medications and how long their condition is expected to last. Depending on the severity of their head injury, treatments may include ice, rest, observation, topical antibiotic ointments, stitches, hospitalization for observation or surgery.  

Head injuries are a common injury, especially among children, as they are highly active. However, knowing the most common head injuries and what to look out for can help catch issues early. Check out our website or for information on LifeTech's services, contact us.  

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