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As children grow, their head often finds the corners of tables, the ground and too often, their siblings or friends heads (also known as a head butt). Sometimes a bang to the head can cause very severe injury, but in most cases it is just some bruising and pain for a short while.

This informational blog post is for education and general knowledge purposes only. Please consult medical advice or your closest emergency department if you or your child have experienced head trauma. If you are unsure what to do, call 000 immediately. 

In the first 48 hours…

If you or your child have hit their head, you should report to your local doctor or emergency department if any of the following symptoms occur within the first 48 hours:

  • Persistent vomiting
  • Excessive drowsiness
  • Worsening headache
  • Severe dizziness
  • Unsteady when walking
  • Increasing confusion, restlessness and agitation
  • Slurred speech
  • Convulsion or seizures

Did You Know?

You can learn first aid and CPR with Australia Wide First Aid’s courses in several locations around Australia, including in:

Signs and Symptoms of a Head Injury:

Signs and symptoms of a head injury can vary from person to person. The following information is a guide to the signs and symptoms you should be aware of after a bang to the head occurs. If any of the following symptoms occur, please consult emergency medical advice immediately.

A severe head injury is when:

  • Consciousness is lost for more than 30 seconds
  • You or your child are drowsy and do not respond to commands as normal
  • Has unequal pupils or arm and leg weakness
  • Has something stuck in their head (a phrase or sound)
  • Has a second fit or convulsion, other than the single brief experience when injury occurred.

A moderate head injury:

  • Has lost conciousness for less than 30 seconds
  • Is alert and responds to normal commands
  • Has vomited two or more times
  • Has a headache
  • One brief fit may have occurred straight after initial injury
  • May have large bruise, lump or cut on head

A minor head injury:

  • You or your child did not lose conciousnesshead_injury_boy
  • Alert and interactive as usual
  • May have vomited but only once
  • May have bruising or cuts to the head
  • Otherwise normal

Bruises from a Head Injury

Small bangs on the head can cause large bruises and large soft swellings. This is because the scalp has a very good blood supply and the bone of the skull is just under the skin, meaning there is ‘no’ padding to absorb the knock.

Sometimes, the severity of the bruise can be controlled with the application of ice to the site of swelling (if there is no ice, try a packet of frozen veggies such as frozen peas). Make sure you wrap the ice in a damp cloth, do not put something very cold directly on the skin.

The swelling of the area of injury should go down quite quickly, leaving the coloured bruise and a small spot of pain. If the swelling sight stays, you or your child should seek medical advice.

Cuts from a Head Injury

Cuts on the scalp will bleed a lot because of the good blood supply in the scalp. Put a clean dressing over the cut and apply pressure to the cut for five or 10 minutes. If the bleeding has not stopped within 10 minutes, it is recommended you seek medical advice. If the cut is longer than 1cm long, the cut may have a quicker and stronger recovery if treated by the doctor or medical department.

Follow up from a Head Injury

Some problems can be hard to detect at first but can later result from minor head injury. In the following weeks, make sure you are aware if the following symptoms exist:

  • Irritability
  • Mood Swings
  • Tiredness
  • Concentration problems
  • Behavioural changes


tell-us-your-storyHave you experienced a head injury? How was it treated? Were you a First Aider? What were the signs of the head injury?

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This post was written by awfa

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