Head injuries are very common in toddlers and school-aged children, because they are so active at home and in school. Minor falls are linked to toddler concussion more often than any other type of accident. These accidents most often occurs, when the toddler is beginning to walk. While parents will feel guilty for their child’s accident, there genuinely is no way prevent them, unless you enclose them into a huge bubble.
Concussion is classified as a temporary interruption of the brain function, without loss of consciousness. The brain is protected by cerebrospinal fluid, meninges (dura, arachnoid, and pia matar), and the blood-brain matter, which is totally encapsulated within the skull.
A blow to the head will instantly cause the brain to be disrupted from its normal state. The brain will shake around and bang up against the skull, when this occurs there is a possibility that the dense network of blood vessels within the brain may become damaged. If this occurs, it will increase the risk of serious, long-term injuries.
Concussion in Toddler
The increasing emphasis being put on sports related concussions, many parents are beginning to rethink their decisions of placing their children in contact sports such as football, rugby, soccer, and mixed martial arts.
While many children will recover from their injuries within 1-2 weeks, others may suffer from long-term health issues. Repeated concussions will increase the risks of permanent brain damage.
Symptoms of Concussion
It is crucial to note that symptoms can range from mild to severe and last for several hours or possibly months.
- Inability to focus
- Loss of short-term memory
- Diplopia (double vision)
- Poor balance
- Vertigo (dizziness)
- Photophobia (light sensitivity)
- Mood alterations
- Increased sleepiness or insomnia
While toddlers and young children will exhibit the same symptoms as adults, it is important to note that children will have their own separate list of symptoms including:
- Crying inconsolably
- Alterations is sleep and feeding behavior
- Lack of interest in favorite activities
- Slurred speech
Children will also exhibit the adult symptoms, as well. It is crucial to seek emergency interventions, if the child begins to show signs of personality changes. Onset of symptoms may not occur until 24-72 hours post trauma.
An ER visit is inevitable, because a genuine diagnosis needs to be determined.
- Computed tomography scan
- Magnetic resonance imaging scan
Treatment of Concussion
- Rest (mentally and physically)
- NSAIDs (Advil for headache)
- Over the counter analgesics (Tylenol)
Avoid physical and sport activities for at least a week or until the physician gives the okay to return to normal activities. This is important to avoid second-impact syndrome, which is linked to secondary head trauma. This condition can be life threatening and cause permanent brain damage.
Childproofing your Home
- Remove throw rugs and electrical cables from walkways
- Utilize booster seats, whenever possible
- Utilize baby gates
- Never utilize baby walkers
- Make sure that all drawers on chests are locked or remove knobs until child becomes older
Always supervise your toddler, so he does not have any free time to wander about and explore.