Concussion in Children: Signs and Management Tips

Usually caused by a mild bump or blow to the head, a concussion is a mild brain injury. This often happens if your child has fallen, was involved in a sport, or was hit in a car accident. Concussion is dangerous. Talk to your doctor right away if you suspect concussion in your children.

What Are the Signs of Concussion in Children?

Sometimes, concussion signs will show up quickly, while in other cases it can take as long as 48 hours to be seen. Some children may experience a loss of consciousness with concussion while others will not. In fact, losing consciousness only happens to about ten percent of children. Watch for these warning signs of concussion if your child has had a blow to the head:

If your child is so young that he/she is not able to talk, keep an eye out for fontanel bulges, lethargy, vomiting, trouble with feeding, and crying that is abnormally high-pitched.

When to Call the Doctor

You should call your doctor if your child has anything more than a small bump to the head as per the American Academy of Pediatrics. If there are any of the following symptoms, seek emergency care:

How to Treat and Manage the Concussion

Every concussion happens under different circumstances, causing differences in severity. Treatment is dependent on the condition of the child and the situation. Therefore, physicians are important in determining treatment. They will ask you about the injury, what happened and what your child’s symptoms are. They may want to examine your child. They may suggest an MRI, CT or neurologic exam. Concussion in children may mean brain injury and require professional treatment or hospitalization.

If you don’t need to hospitalize your child, your doctor may provide instructions for care at home. This includes keeping a close eye on your child for up to 72 hours after the incident. If there are new symptoms or any gets worse, you will need to contact your doctor.

Some Tips for Care at Home

When to Return to School and Sports After Concussion

When to Return to School

You should wait until your child no longer has any acute symptoms or your child can manage when doing thinking activities for thirty minutes. It is encouraged to have your child return to school gradually, such as a couple of half days followed by a day off. This will give him/her a chance to rest if still tired.

It is also a good idea to let the staff know your child suffered from a concussion. So they will understand if your child has trouble concentrating or performing basic exercises. You may need to help your child with a few things such as:

Even with a gradual return to school, your child still needs plenty of time for mental and physical rest. This may mean:

When to Return to Sport

Your child can consider returning to sports when:

Remember to sit it out if in doubt. It is easiest to get a concussion within a few months of having a concussion. If you are doubtful about your child playing, you should wait it out.

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