Toddler head bumps and injuries: What to do

Kids fall all the time ― know when a head injury is serious enough to rush him to the doc.

From the time your baby flips over for the first time, you worry that’ll she roll off the bed. When junior takes her first step, you worry about potential dangers like the corners of your coffee tables, your bookcase tipping over, even trailing window and electrical cords. As she grows older, you worry that she’ll take a tumble down the stairs.

Indeed, a quick look around your home and it’ll seem like a head injury hazard is lurking around every corner. And chances are, your peewee will get a knock in her head some time or other, if she hasn’t already.

According to KKH Women’s and Children’s Hospital, about half of the children who seek treatment in the Children’s Emergency come in for injuries sustained from head trauma. About 20 per cent of these children require treatment by specialists at the Paediatric Neurosurgery Department.

Mum of two Louisa Yap got the fright of her life when her 3-year-old son Adam missed a step while walking down a flight of stairs and tumbled down four to five steps. “He landed on his bum, but hit the back of his head several times ― that was what worried me,” she says.

Adam cried uncontrollably for an hour, and then fell asleep, probably from exhaustion, she said. Yap later took her son to her GP just to make sure that he was fine. “He seemed to have gone back to his usual self in a couple of hours, but I was worried about any internal head injuries he might have sustained,” she explains. Thankfully, Adam was unscathed by the fall.

About half of the children who seek treatment in the Children’s Emergency come in for injuries sustained from head trauma.

Dr Dawn Lim, a paediatrician at Kinder Clinic @ Paragon, says that it’s very common for toddlers to fall and hit their heads as toddlers are still very unsteady on their feet. “But for them to have actual serious injuries is not that common.”

This is because the little ones don’t usually fall from a great height as they have a much lower centre of gravity as compared to adults. “So, when it does happen, parents don’t always rush them to the clinic,” Dr Lim adds.

But just how serious can ahead injuries get? And how do you assess your child’s injury?

Possible head injuries include:

Bruises and cuts External injuries, these can include a blue-and-black mark or an open wound that requires stitching.

Concussion A brain injury arising from a blow to the noggin. Symptoms can range from mild to severe.

Skull fracture When the bones in your child’s head crack.

Parents usually bring their children in to the A & E clinic if there is an open wound, or if the “knock is deemed to be very heavy,” Dr Lim notes. “The injury could be internal, or external, or you could have both.”

Parents should be alert to signs of internal injuries. Learn what these are.