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Signs of a concussion in babies

Signs of Concussion in Babies and Children

Playing is a significant part of the life of children, sometimes, the play may go overboard and result in head injury, this is why you need to know the signs of a concussion in babies and children. It will help you understand what to look out for when your child suffers from a concussion.

What Is A Concussion?

Signs of a concussion in babies - Momtherly
Source: Pampers

Concussion, which is also known as a TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury),  is a type of brain injury caused by a hard blow or hit to the head or to another part of the body that makes a forceful/powerful impact on the head. Concussion affects the brain’s activities by causing a permanent or temporary shutdown of the brain. Most concussions are temporary and can be fully resolved, but they can cause permanent damage if it is very serious or not treated promptly.

Signs of a Concussion in Babies

The signs of a concussion are mostly the same for adults and children who can relate their symptoms to you, but the case is different for babies and toddlers who can not convey their feelings to you. This means you have to think proactively and look out for the signs of concussion in them.

  1. Crying when you turn the baby’s head
  2. Swelling on the head
  3. Discharge of blood or clear fluid from ears or nose
  4. Sudden change in baby’s sleeping habits (sleeping more or less)
  5. Making repeated motions  that look like seizures
  6. Tilting of eyes to one side
  7. Vomiting persistently
  8. Incessant crying and refusing to be consoled
  9. Large bump or bruise on the head

Signs of a Concussion in Toddlers

Toddlers have improved cognition and verbal skills and may be able to tell you their symptoms or give you better clues regarding how they are feeling than babies. General symptoms of a toddler with a concussion are:

  • Headache
  • Vomiting
  • Behavior changes
  • Changes in sleep habits, either much more or less
  • Looking like they are daydreaming or “not present mentally.”
  • Mood Swings (irritable, sad, emotional, nervous)
  • Excessive crying without cause
  • Loss of interest in their favorite activities like playing with friends, eating, etc.

Signs of a Concussion in Children (Aged 2+)

Children more than 2 years of age are more expressive; they can show behavioral changes and communicate better than babies and toddlers.

  • Dizziness or facing problems balancing
  • Double or blurry vision
  • Sensitivity to light and noise
  • Zoning out or daydreaming
  • Having trouble concentrating
  • Difficulty in remembering recent events
  • Slow in performing actions
  • Mood swings– such as irritability, sadness, or nervousness
  • Sudden change in sleep pattern
  • Holding head and looking sad
  • Increased Sensitivity to light, sound, noise, touch, movement
  • Change in eating/drinking pattern

When Should I inform the Doctor/visit the hospital About My Child’s Concussion?

Knowing when to inform the doctor or call 911 about a likely concussion in a baby, toddler, or child can be a bit challenging. You may feel you are just overthinking, and it may probably be nothing. Here are red flags/signs that will help you know when to inform the doctor:

  • Big bump, bruise or swelling on the head
  • Discharge of blood or clear fluid from ears or nose
  • Motion disorders  that look like seizures
  • Incessant vomiting
  • Unconsciousness
  • Worsening symptoms
  • A Noticeable size difference in pupils (the small black spots in the eyes) after a head injury (this may require a medical emergency)

Is it okay for my child to Sleep After A Suspected Concussion?

It’s alright to let your child take a nap if they’re feeling sleepy after bumping their head; however, you should closely monitor them while they sleep and watch for signs of a concussion after they wake up.

Treatment of Concussion in Babies, Toddlers, and Children

The principal treatment for concussions is rest and sleep. The brain needs enough time and rest to heal. Your child needs a break from both physical and mental activity. You can help in the treatment process of concussion in babies by:

  1. Reducing screen time to the barest minimum during their recovery time
  2. Encourage them to take naps and sleep
  3.  Early bedtimes
  4. Extra supervision. If you can, keep your child home with you for 48 hours or more before returning to school or daycare.
  5. Ensure your child drinks enough water and eats healthy foods to improve brain healing.
  6. Discourage any strenuous or serious play for at least the first 24 hours.

A full recovery may take weeks, months, or even a year, depending on the severity of the concussion. It is good to periodically check in with your doctor to check your child’s progress.

How can I Prevent Further Concussions in Babies?

It is advisable to prevent further concussions in your baby, toddler, or child. You can not entirely avoid concussions in babies, but you can try using these three helpful tips:

  • Children should play in safe spaces
  • Please do not leave your babies unattended, especially when you place them on high surfaces (e.g. Changing table, countertop)
  • Make sure your children are in the correct car seat for their sizes and ages when in the car, even for short trips!

Well, Momma… You are doing a great job so far. If your baby has a concussion, understand that it is not the time to blame yourself for what could have been or not been. It is time to look for a solution and the best ways to prevent the concussion. Don’t forget to check in with your doctor, too, If you see signs of a concussion in your baby.

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