Concussions 101: What Parents Need to Know
Unlike a broken bone, the symptoms of a concussion can be difficult to recognize and diagnose. While minor incidents typically don’t cause lasting effects, a moderate or severe one can completely change a child’s life. Learn how to recognize and obtain treatment for your kids to improve the recovery process after a brain injury.
What’s a Concussion?
Concussions are brain injuries that can result from any type of head trauma. Children commonly suffer them from falling, car accidents, and sports incidents. Even tumbling out of bed in the middle of the night and sustaining a bump on the head could cause an injury. Concussions jar the brain from its typical physiology and can manifest a range of symptoms in children and adults.
Many concussions are discovered when someone loses consciousness, but a person doesn’t have to pass out to suffer from a concussion. At the end of the day, parents should look at every head injury as a potential concussion and monitor their children for signs and symptoms until the window of danger passes.
Recognizing and Addressing the Signs of a Concussion
Anytime a child falls or complains of a head injury, take him or her seriously. Monitor the child’s behavior, moods, and sleep patterns for 48 hours. For serious injuries, always take the child in for immediate evaluation. If you’re unsure if the injury is serious, call the doctor or a nurse hotline for advice. Seemingly small injuries can result in serious signs and symptoms later. A health care professional can help you determine if your child’s injuries need further evaluation.
Common symptoms in children and adults include:
- Feeling foggy or lethargic
- Memory difficulty
- Difficulty focusing or concentrating
- Unusual mood swings
- Light or noise sensitive
- Changes in sleep patterns
In babies, you may notice fussiness or a very subdued disposition. Any out of the ordinary behavior for that child could indicate the presence of a concussion.
Taking Care of Your Child After a Concussion
Listen to the doctor’s suggestions regarding your individual situation. In most cases, a health care professional will advise athletes to sit out of games and practices for a recommended period of time. Secondary injuries can exacerbate the effects of a concussion, and it’s not worth the risk.
Furthermore, ice packs can help with head and neck pain. Only provide acetaminophen pain relievers to children specifically under a doctor’s direction. Encourage your child to rest and heal for several days or weeks. Mental and physical rest improves the body’s ability to heal itself naturally. During this period, discourage excessive electronics usage, including computers and television, loud music, and bright lighting. Depending on the injury, a doctor may also recommend your child stay home to rest for a few days.
Helping Your Child Avoid Head Injuries
Parents can significantly reduce the likelihood of sports and recreation related head injuries with the right equipment. Impress upon your child the importance of wearing helmets and other protective gear, even during practice. Check your child’s safety equipment for proper fit and safety regulations. If your child plays an impact sport, consider investing in a helmet sensor that can detect impact levels.
Unfortunately, you can’t watch your kids every minute of the day. Accidents do happen. Encourage your child to always tell you about any collisions or injuries. If your child is hurt, remember this information and start monitoring his or her symptoms. Contact your healthcare provider as soon as possible.
If you fear your child suffered a severe brain injury because someone else was negligent you should first seek medical attention and then an experienced Kansas City personal injury attorney to make sure your legal needs are met. Contact our experienced and successful attorneys at Fowler Pickert Eisenmenger Norfleet for a free case evaluation.