Know what to do after a bump to the head

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This summer holiday, parents are offered advice on what to do in the event their child gets a head injury.

High Impact Pathways head injury

Health professionals in Mid and South Essex have worked together to create a guide for parents on what to do when a child has had a head injury. The guide outlines common symptoms after a head injury, what parents can do to help their children to recover and advice on when to seek medical attention.

Jane Foster-Taylor, Chief Nurse at NHS Thurrock Clinical Commissioning Group, says: “Bumps and scrapes when playing are very common. Most accidents are minor and can be treated at home with a first aid kit. The nature of head injuries means they are more worrying, but even these are usually minor. Our guide lets you know what to expect after a head injury and how you can help your child feel better.

“Bruising, minor cuts and a good deal of tears are all very common after a bump to the head. As long as your child is alert, speaking to you and otherwise acting as normal, then they should be fine. Keep an eye on them for the next 2-3 days. If your little ones are still in pain, you can also give them paracetamol or ibuprofen, as advised by a pharmacist.”

Sometimes it’s important to get medical help for more severe falls or bumps. For children under 1 year or if your child falls from a height greater than their own height, then it is important to seek medical help, either by visiting an A&E department or by phoning NHS 111. By simply dialling 111, you can access urgent medical advice 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Jane Foster-Taylor says: “If you are worried that it might be more serious and you are not confident that you can treat it yourself, help can be just a phone call away. If it’s urgent but not an emergency simply call NHS111 and trained staff will tell you the best course of action to take based on your child’s symptoms.”

For more severe symptoms, you should phone 999 or go immediately to A&E. If your child experiences any of the symptoms below, be sure to act straight away: 

  • Has been ‘knocked out’ at any time
  • Has been sick more than once
  • Has clear fluid dribbling out of their nose, ears or both
  • Has blood coming from inside one or both ears
  • Has difficulty speaking or understanding what you are saying
  • Is sleepy and you cannot wake them
  • Has weakness in their arms and legs or are losing their balance
  • Has had a convulsion or fit

For further advice, the full Head Injury Advice for Parents guide is available to download below:

pdf Head injury advice sheet for parents (1.22 MB)