Baby head injuries can be something or nothing, but as young children are not able to communicate their distress as effectively as adults it is always better to be safe than sorry.
Children are always getting bumps and knocks and in the vast majority of cases there is nothing to be alarmed about.
Recognising Minor Head Injuries
Minor head injuries usually consist of a bump, bruise or graze, without unconsciousness or deep cuts. Children with a minor head injury can display a number of symptoms such as nausea, mild headache, dizziness and mild blurred vision. Make sure you keep a close eye on your child for 24 hours and seek medical attention should they worsen.
If symptoms are persistent but mild, you can contact your GP, or our East Berkshire Out of Hours Service which can be accessed via NHS Direct by dialling 111. NHS Direct can give you advice on how to deal with any minor illness or injury which does not require urgent medical attention. They will also direct your call to your local out of hours service so you can arrange for your child to be seen by a doctor if needed.
Another option is to attend a walk-in centre or Minor Injuries Unit. If this is necessary, it will be established during your NHS Direct review. The difference with these centres is that you will not be allotted a time slot and can drop in at a time that works for you. There is a drop-in centre at Upton Hospital in Slough (not run by EBPCOOH).
More Serious Incidents
It may be that during your telephone conversation, it is decided that your child needs more urgent care. In this case, you will be asked to attend the Urgent Care Centre. Your nearest Urgent Care Centre may be St Marks Hospital Maidenhead or Brants Bridge in Bracknell (not run by EBPCOOH).
Severe Head Injuries
If you believe your child may have suffered a severe head injury, you should dial 999 immediately or get the injured person to your nearest A&E department as quickly as possible. Symptoms which could occur include:
- Concussion – short-lived loss of mental function following an injury to the head
- Fits or seizures
- Difficulty speaking or staying awake
- Problems with senses such as hearing or vision
- Episodes of vomiting
- Blood or clear fluid coming from nose or ears
- Memory loss
- Sudden swelling or bruising around the eyes or behind the ears
- Difficulty with walking or coordination
The NHS Choices website provides excellent information on diagnosing minor and severe head injuries and how to deal with them. For more information on local services in East Berkshire, visit our website at ebpcooh.org.uk.