Head Injury, Age 3 and Younger - Home Treatment
First aid for a head injury
Parents should watch their child for any problems after the injury. Home treatment can
help relieve swelling and bruising of the skin or scalp and pain that occurs
with a minor head injury.
- If your child had an accident, try to remain
calm and speak to your child in a calm, relaxed voice. This will help reduce
your child's fear and allow you to assess the situation.
- To stop any bleeding, apply firm pressure directly over the cut
with a clean cloth or bandage for 15 minutes. If the cut is deep and may have penetrated the skull,
emergency treatment is needed.
- Check for injuries to other parts of
the body, especially if the child has fallen. The alarm from seeing a head
injury may cause you to overlook other injuries that need
ice or cold packs to reduce the swelling if your child will let you hold a cold pack on the injury. A "goose egg" lump may appear
anyway, but ice will help ease the pain. Always keep a cloth between your
child's skin and the ice pack. Do not apply ice for longer than 15 to 20
minutes at a time, and do not let your child fall asleep with the ice on his or
If your child is seen by a doctor
Be sure to follow
the instructions given to you by your child's doctor. He or she will tell you what problems to look for and how closely to watch your child for the next 24 hours or longer.
Do not give any medicine, including
acetaminophen, such as Tylenol, to a child
you are watching for signs of a more serious head injury unless your doctor
tells you to.
Symptoms to watch for during home treatment
Call your child's doctor if any of the following occur during home
- New headache develops or headache becomes worse.
- New nausea or vomiting develops or nausea or vomiting becomes worse.
- Tingling, weakness, or numbness develops in any part of the body.
- Trouble walking develops.
- Confusion or not acting normally develops.
- Bleeding or swelling increases.
- Symptoms become more severe or more frequent.