It’s just happened to you. Your baby has bumped their head. Cue tears, panic stations, and pangs of guilt. Not on our watch mama. Googling baby bumped head has paid off, here’s what you need to know to put (both) your minds at ease.
Falling over when they’re learning to walk, rolling off of surfaces (whoops!), one baby bumping heads with another at daycare – the opportunities for a bumped head are almost endless. 🤕
In the vast majority of cases, they’ll move on happily from their bumped head right away or after a little bit of crying.
But there are some warning signs to watch out for.
We’ll take you through them here.
In this article 📝
- What should I do if my baby bumped their head?
- How do I know if newborn is OK after hitting their head?
- Newborn hit head: when to worry?
- How can you tell if a baby has a concussion?
- Should I take my baby to hospital after hitting head?
- How to prevent baby falls?
What should I do if my baby bumped their head?
First thing’s first, do your best to stay calm.
If you panic, they’ll get more upset, and it’ll be hard to tell whether they’re really hurt or just scared by your reaction.
Take a breath, and immediately get a cold compress for your baby’s bumped head.
Make sure to wrap in a thin towel to prevent the cold from hurting their skin and hold it to the injury for a few minutes.
They probably won’t love it, but it’ll numb the pain and help to stop a big goose egg from developing.
Next, it’s important to take a mental note of the time your baby hit their head, how hard the bump seemed, and how far they fell (if that applies).
Same goes if the bump happened under someone else’s watch – ask for full info even if the baby seems fine.
These are the first things you will be asked should you need to take your little one to get medical help later.
For a minor head bump, the best course of action is to keep a close eye and wait, watching for any changes in behavior over the next 48 hours.
And of course, if you have any concerns, contact your pediatrician.
You’ll be thankful you did.
How do I know if newborn is OK after hitting their head?
At least 90% of the time, your little one will stop crying, get on with the rest of their day, and you can breathe easy.
Once baby is alert and responsive, has no health issues before hand, and has returned back to their normal little selves after a good ten-minute cry – you’re likely in minor head injury territory.
In most cases, if baby bumped their head on the crib or on the floor, the doctor will likely tell you that it’s completely fine and advise you to “watch and wait” and go to the hospital if anything changes.
They’ll also let you know whether you need to keep your baby awake after a head bump or watch them while they’re napping.
Aside from baby losing consciousness or sustaining cuts to their sweet head or face, how do you know if the situation needs more attention?
Newborn hit head: when to worry?
We’ll say it again: if you’re worried about your baby’s bumped head, there is no shame in calling your doctor for advice.
If your child falls from something taller than them (a countertop, a table, or a climbing structure in the park), they probably need to be checked over is a concussion.
This is what happens when a bump makes the brain move inside the skull (something brains would rather avoid) causing bruising or swelling within 48 hours of the head injury.
On the other hand, if a baby hit their head on the floor when they tumbled from the couch cushions or fell over backward when they were practicing sitting up, it’s very unlikely to result in a serious injury.
How can you tell if a baby has a concussion?
So, what are signs of concussion in kids? Watch out for:
- Excessive bruising or swelling
- Prolonged or inconsolable crying (especially when you turn their head)
- Loss of interest in food or feeding
- Loss of balance or dizziness (in babies who can get around by themselves)
- A headache (in older children who can tell you where it hurts)
- Being unusually sleepy or not alert when they usually would be
- Losing consciousness or being difficult to wake up
- Changes in the size of their pupils
When it comes to head injuries, there is no such thing as being dramatic or overly cautious – whether you’re a new parent of not.
At the end of the day you know your baby best, and if you believe there’s a noticeable change in their behaviour, contacting your doctor for an evaluation out of precaution is the best step to take.
Should I take my baby to hospital after hitting head?
Short of being given the green light by your pediatrician, any of these are immediate warning signs of a serious head injury that needs medical attention:
- Excessive bleeding from a cut
- A noticeable dent in their skull
- In very young babies, a bulging fontanelle (the famous soft spot)
- Loss of consciousness
- Breathing difficulties
- Difficulty waking up
- Neck is not moving normally
Though concussions are often the most common type of head trauma in infants, skull fractures can happen – albeit only in about 10% of infants.
Even at that, the risk of a skull fracture from a low-height fall is very low.
Still if you see swelling or bruising along baby’s head, don’t hesitate, just get them to the hospital.
Mama, this is a scary list.
But it’s important to remember how rare a lot of these symptoms are.
If they were going to show up, it would usually be clear from the moment your baby hurt themselves that they needed medical help.
And if it helps to reassure you, even most kids who vomit or get dizzy after they hit their heads are kept in hospital overnight for observation and allowed to go home the next day.
How to prevent baby falls?
Prevention is better than cure right? So how can you get the jump on future head bumps?
Keeping on eye on baby milestones is key.
It helps to know what baby is capable of and how fast they can move between each developmental stage (hint: it’s pretty fast).
With those in mind, here are some top tips to ensure the only falling baby is doing is falling asleep:
- Never leave baby unattended in high places or in slippery spots like the bath tub or a damn floor.
- Make sure they’re strapped in – this goes for high chairs, bouncy seats, baby carriers, swing, strollers, you name it.
- Secure furniture to the wall or floor where possible.
- Baby gates are your friends. Use them for stairs (top and bottom), balcony doors, and entrances to decks or elevated porches.
- When in doubt, lock it down – this goes for windows and window guards.
- Avoid baby walkers with wheels.
- Make sure eyes and hands are on the price when holding baby. No multitasking when carrying your peanut.
- Always be mindful of your footing and watch out for any potential tripping hazard – for both of you.
Childhood and accidents go hand-in-hand.
You can do everything right and still end of googling baby bumped head in a panic.
Just ask the mamas on Peanut.
All you really need to know is: trust your gut, call your doctor for advice, learn from the experience, and don’t beat yourself up, mama.
You’re a superhero. 🦸♀️