Babies and toddlers commonly suffer head injuries due to their high activity levels and decreased awareness of their surroundings. It is important for parents to know how to identify the symptoms of concussions in babies and toddlers who are unable to verbally express how they are feeling.
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Keep a close eye on your baby's head in the hours and days following their head injury. If you identify any bruising or swelling, take the child to see a pediatrician as soon as possible.
Be suspicious if your baby becomes fatigued easier than normal after bumping her head, or if you identify a noticeable decrease in her energy level. A general listless malaise is a sign your baby may have suffered a concussion.
Talk to your pediatrician if your baby suffers a head injury that makes them moody or irritable. If the baby is continually crying and you determine it isn't due to normal fatigue or hunger, this may be a sign of a concussion.
Observe your baby to see if he isn't hungry when he normally is, or isn't tired at his usual naptime or bedtime. Changes in the eating or sleeping habits of babies can signal a neurological disturbance that might be concussion-related.
Take your baby to see a doctor if you perceive any imbalances in their gait or while they crawl. A loss of balance is one of the most revealing symptoms of concussions in babies, especially if it's accompanied by nausea or vomiting.
Watch your baby at playtime. An otherwise unexplainable lack of interest in favorite games or toys is another of the classic symptoms of concussions in babies.
Err on the side of caution when it comes to babies (and toddlers) and head injuries. Their symptoms are much more difficult to detect, and you don't want to run the risk of long-term neurological damage that might have been prevented by a quick visit to the doctor.
Tips and warnings
- Baby-proof or toddler-proof your home to reduce the chances of your child having an accident that leads to a head injury. Place gates at the tops and bottoms of all staircases and discourage rambunctious play in tight quarters, especially indoors.
- Bring children of any age to see a doctor if they suffer a head injury of any kind.