Head Trauma - First Aid


First aid

First aid

Emergency intervention in children

Sunburn in children Diaper rash Febrile seizures The child who does not sleep Acute asthma access Dental trauma Head injury
  • Sunburn in the child
  • Diaper rash
  • Febrile seizures
  • The child who does not sleep
  • Acute asthma access
  • Dental trauma
  • Head trauma
    • External head injury
    • If the child is less than one year old or has lost consciousness
    • What to do and what to observe
    • Signs of brain pain observable after the trauma to report to the doctor
    • Prevention

Head trauma

A head injury is generally due to a sudden and violent headshot as a result of a fall (from the changing table or from the bed or from a table) or a game accident (sports or road). The blow can cause the movement of the brain inside the cranial cavity, causing it to hit the walls of the skull itself. The skull can resist impact without breaking; brain damage with an intact skull is called closed head injury.

Head injury can be external and / or internal. The external forms are mostly wounds of the scalp, the internal ones affect the skull, the brain and the cerebral vessels.

Fortunately many of the falls of children do not have serious consequences; often everything comes down to a great fear of the child and parents and to a wound on the scalp or face. In some cases, internal head injury occurs, with more serious consequences and implications for the health of the child.

Head injuries are particularly frequent in children aged 0-4 and adolescents aged 14 to 19.

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External head injury

The scalp is very rich in blood vessels and therefore even a small wound can bleed profusely. Sometimes a conspicuous hematoma can form because the blood passes from the broken blood vessels into and under the scalp. It takes many days and sometimes weeks for a hematoma to be completely reabsorbed.

If the child is over one year old, has not lost consciousness, is lucid and responds to your requests, it is important to follow some precautions:

  • Keep him close to you and comfort him until he stops crying.
  • Medicate any wounds, washing them with plenty of water and dabbing the bleeding with sterile gauze; apply an ice pack on the trauma area for about 20 minutes (take care to wrap the ice pack with a sponge towel to avoid discomfort to the skin).
  • If the bleeding does not stop or if the wound is large it is best to go to the nearest emergency room to suture the wound.
  • If the child is sleepy, allow him to sleep by observing him from time to time to assess whether his breathing is regular and his complexion is normal.
  • If she cried for a long time in fright, she may need to rest; it is not necessary to keep him awake after a head injury.
  • Leave the baby to sleep for as long as necessary if his breathing and complexion are normal.
  • The behavior of the child must be observed for at least 24 hours, and if symptoms appear that can lead you to suspect trauma outcomes call the doctor.

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If the child is less than one year old or has lost consciousness

In children under the age of 1 year, it is always good to consult the pediatrician, even by telephone. At any age, loss of consciousness or a state of confusion (the child does not remember what happened, answers your questions in a confused way, is in an abandoned arm, does not smile at you, does not respond to stimulation) are indicative signs of major head injury.

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What to do and what to observe

Call 118 immediately if your child has any of these symptoms:

  • is unconscious;
  • breathe irregularly;
  • have serious wounds to the face or head, bleed from the ear, from the mouth (do not remove any fragments or foreign bodies from the wound);
  • complains of vision difficulties;
  • complains of neck pain or stiffness;
  • dizziness;
  • cannot move or stand;
  • he vomited more than two or three times (in this case, rotate him gently to the side to avoid suffocation);
  • if you suspect a spinal injury, do not move the child;
  • if there is a noticeable swelling, apply an ice pack without compressing so as not to compromise any fractures of the bones of the face or skull;
  • do not wash the wounds pending 118.

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Signs of brain pain observable after the trauma to report to the doctor

  • Refusal to feed.
  • Restlessness, irritability.
  • Important changes in sleep patterns.
  • Disinterest in usual toys or games, apathy.

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Head injuries can be prevented by following a variety of safety measures in and out of the home.

The safety measures to be adopted vary according to the age of the child, but each parent must be more or less vigilant also in consideration of the child's temperament and attitudes.

  • Young children should be left free to roll, crawl, walk and explore, eliminating what can endanger their safety. For this reason, mum and dad will have to be particularly careful in eliminating elements of home furnishings (unstable furniture that the child can pull on himself such as bookcases, sharp edges of furniture, tables with knick-knacks that weigh) or structural situations (stairs must be closed with gates with safety lock and, if the doors have glass, this must be covered with a protective film that prevents it from shattering in the event of breakage; the possibility of climbing must also be eliminated.
  • The child must never be left unattended on the high chair or changing table.
  • In the home garden all the elements of danger must be eliminated; benches, barbecues must be fixed to the ground to prevent the child from pulling on them.
  • When he will be brought to the playground, he must always be vigilant to at least partially limit the physiological impetuosity in the movements. Always check that the available structures are well fixed to the ground and constantly monitor the child. Also pay attention to the proper use of the available equipment. They are not unusual traumas because the children descend from the slide lying down with their heads forward, they launch themselves from the top of the platform of the ladder, and what else the imagination and the lack of awareness of the risk can suggest.
  • The child in the car must always travel insured or on the appropriate seat or tied with belts when he has reached the age and size that allow it.
  • Having the child put on the helmet when using the bicycle reduces the risk of head injury and concussion in 85% of cases.

All children who play contact sports must wear a helmet with mouthguard to reduce the risk of both head and dental trauma (American football, ice hockey or wheel hockey, rugby, etc.). Another useful safety measure is a protective helmet with chin guard for children who practice cycling, skatebording, inline skating.

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