Declan slipped and fell on the stairs at Water World yesterday and clocked his head pretty hard on the edge of the step. Since Declan is usually so cautious he rarely falls (hard), we were completely unprepared for a hard knock like that. I am sure many parents are old hat at this sort of thing, but I was pretty freaked. I was especially freaked since I only vaguely knew what to do, or what to look out for.
So, as a public service and also a reference for me to look back on… Here is what our at-home doctor/health book says about head trauma.
Call a doctor immediately if:
(call 911 if they are unconscious, have difficulty breathing or have a neck injury):
* The skin is split open and may need sutures
* The child is under 1 year old
* Crying lasted for more than 10 minutes after injury
* The child had any convulsions
* The child was unconscious and/or confused after the injury
* The child cannot remember the accident
* Vomiting has occured 3 or more times
* The child is unusually sleepy or difficult to awaken
* Speech is slurred
* Vision is blurred or double
* Walking or crawling is unsteady
* The arms are weak
* There is any neck pain
* Blood or watery fluid is coming from the nose or ears
* Eyes are crossed
The book also addressed checking pupils – apparently some doctors ask you to check if one pupil is more dilated than the other. The books says that uneven pupils are never seen before other symptoms like confusion and difficulty walking, and those other symptoms are much more reliable.
Luckily, Declan was fine. He did cry for quite a while (obviously I didn’t yet know to take note of how long) and was a bit lethargic for a while. But I think that had more to do with hunger, because after he ate, he perked right up. The book recommends closely observing them for 2 hours after the injury, which we did and he was back to normal very soon. And today he only had a small bump on the back of his head, so we got away very lucky. And next time – since it’s inevitable for kids to conk their heads, right? – next time, we’ll be better prepared.