Babies bump their heads. It’s a fact of life, and if it’s just happened to you, try not to feel guilty. 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 bumps her head?
- How do I know if baby is OK after hitting head?
- Child bumped head: when to worry
What should I do if my baby bumps her head?
If your baby hits their head, the best thing you can do is 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.
It’s also important to take a mental note of the time your baby hit their head, how hard the hit seemed, and how far they fell, if that applies.
If the bump happened under someone else’s watch, ask for full info even if the baby seems fine.
If you do need to take them to get medical help later, these are going to be the first things they ask you.
The other thing you can do immediately is to get a cold compress for your baby’s bumped head and hold it to the injury for a few minutes.
It needs to be wrapped in a thin towel to stop the cold from hurting their skin.
They probably won’t love it, but it’ll numb the pain and help to stop a big goose egg from developing.
How do I know if baby is OK after hitting 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.
But how do you know if the situation needs more attention? Read on.
Child bumped head: when to worry
First, if you are worried about your baby’s bumped head, call your doctor to ask for advice.
In most cases, if baby bumped head on the crib or baby bumped head on the floor, the doctor will most likely tell you that it’s completely fine.
Often, they’ll 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.
If it’s clear that your baby hit their head but didn’t sustain any other injuries, the main worry is concussion.
Concussion is what happens when a bump makes the brain move inside the skull (something brains would rather avoid).
It can cause bruising or swelling, and the following symptoms can show up within 48 hours of a baby bumping their head:
- Excessive bruising or swelling
- Prolonged or inconsolable crying
- 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
- A seizure
- Trouble breathing
- Fluid or blood coming from the nose or ears.
And let’s not forget the immediate warning signs of a serious head injury:
- A lot of bleeding from a cut
- A noticeable dent in their skull
- In very young babies, a bulging fontanelle
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.
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 for concussion or other injuries.
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.
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.
Trust your gut, call your doctor for advice, learn from the experience, and don’t beat yourself up, mama. You’re a superhero.
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