Concussions are also a type of internal head injury. A concussion is the temporary loss of normal brain function due to an injury. Repeated concussions can result in permanent injury to the brain. However, it's possible to get a concussion that's mild and just requires observation.
If your child sustains an injury to the head, watch for these signs of a possible concussion:
- "seeing stars" and feeling dazed, dizzy, or lightheaded
- memory loss, such as trouble remembering what happened right before and after the injury
- nausea or vomiting
- blurred vision and sensitivity to light
- slurred speech or saying things that don't make sense
- difficulty concentrating, thinking, or making decisions
- difficulty with coordination or balance (such as being unable to catch a ball or other easy tasks)
- feeling anxious or irritable for no apparent reason
- feeling overly tired
If you suspect a concussion, call your doctor for further instructions.
Preventing Head Injuries
It's impossible to prevent kids from ever being injured, but there are ways to help prevent head blows.
Make sure that:
- your home is childproofed to prevent household accidents
- your kids always wear appropriate headgear and safety equipment when biking, in-line skating, skateboarding, snowboarding or skiing, and playing contact sports. Wearing a bike helmet, for instance, reduces the risk of concussion by about 85%.
- kids always use a seat belt or child safety seat
- your child takes it easy after a head injury, especially after a concussion, and doesn't go back to rough play or playing sports until the injury has healed. (If your child reinjures the brain while it's still healing, it will take even more time to completely heal. Each time a person has a concussion, it does additional damage.)
Reviewed by: Yamini Durani, MD
Date reviewed: May 2007