Due to their uneasiness on their feet and willingness to explore and climb, toddlers are prime candidates for head injuries and concussions. Unfortunately, toddlers aren’t always able to express their feelings accurately. For a parent or caregiver, this can be extremely scary. How do you know when a bump on the head is something more serious? What are the signs of a concussion in a toddler? How do you know when it’s time to call a doctor?
First, it’s important to know that just because your child has recently suffered a fall or bumped their head doesn’t mean they have a concussion. With that said, it’s just as important to know what to look for after a head injury to determine whether a trip to the doctor is in order. The signs of a concussion in a toddler are very similar to the symptoms in adults but since young children can’t always communicate properly, they may not realize anything is wrong. Parents should keep a close eye on their little one for several days after the event.
Signs of a Concussion in a Toddler
Many people think that unconsciousness or “blacking out” always accompanies a concussion. This isn’t true. Your child may have a concussion and never lose consciousness, or they may lose it for several seconds or minutes. Do not rely on loss of consciousness as a telltale sign of a concussion.
Here are 18 common signs of a concussion in a toddler. These signs may appear hours or even days after a head injury:
- Loss of consciousness
- Uneven or dilated pupils (contact emergency services immediately)
- Blurry vision or double vision
- Dizziness, balance problems, or trouble walking
- Confusion and/or saying things that don’t make sense
- Being slow to answer questions
- Slurred speech
- Nausea or vomiting
- Not remembering recent events, including their injury
- Excessive crying or being uncharacteristically emotional
- Loss of interest in playing or doing their favorite activities
- Sensitivity to light and/or noise
- Looking like they’re daydreaming
- Trouble concentrating
- Changes in mood (being unusually irritable, sad, nervous, etc)
- Excessive drowsiness
- Change in sleep patterns or difficulty sleeping
If your toddler shows any of these signs after a head injury, they may have a concussion and need medical attention.
What is a Concussion
A concussion occurs when there has been an injury to the brain. This can happen in two ways there can be physical, structural damage to the brain cells or there can be a change in the way the brain uses electrical energy. The brain’s power is knocked low and it slows down after a mild head injury. This slowing and low power is what causes the symptoms above. The brain is not working as it should it thus creates symptoms.
When to Call the Doctor
It can be hard to know when a visit to the doctor is in order. If your child has suffered a small bump to the head, continue to keep an eye on them for the symptoms mentioned above. If you’ve observed one or more of the symptoms listed above, they may be concussed. Contact your doctor or visit an urgent care or ER immediately.
What to Do After a Concussion
A concussion is scary for both you and your child. Keep in mind that there is medical technology that can allow you to see exactly how your child’s brain is performing. This knowledge can let you know if there have been changes in the way the brain is working. A qEEG Brain Map lets doctors know if the brain is not working at its best and in which areas of the brain. Depending upon the area of the brain that is injured, symptoms might be different for each person. Finding out if the brain is not working efficiently as soon as possible is important for your child’s long-term health and performance.
If You See Signs of Concussion in Your Toddler, Call Us.
If your toddler is struggling with thinking, physical, or emotional challenges following a concussion, our advanced neuroscientific brain-based evaluations and treatments can help. Call Leigh Brain & Spine at (919) 401-9933 or fill out our online contact form to schedule your appointment.