Friday, 21 September 2012

The big fall

Yesterday morning in a moment of slight brainlessness, we me and Mary were working in the kitchen,
we put Coel on the counter and basically turned our backs for a split second. Well… My poor little man
ended up on the floor, screaming his head off.

Now I don’t usually worry too much when the kids fall, they don’t usually fall from the kitchen counter and
everyone knows kids are top heavy and are most likely to fall on their heads, but his poor head swelled
up like Frankenstein on one side, he couldn’t keep his eye open and I was struggling to keep him awake.
We’ve always been told that when a child has a fall on the head, they shouldn’t sleep for at least a half
an hour as they may go into Acoma. Well I couldn’t keep him awake and I panicked. My parents work quite
close to where we stay so they rushed over, so my mom could keep Coel awake while we went to casualties.

We got there, and he was smiling and happy, the doctor checked him out, and sent him for x-rays as a
precaution and also so that he could be monitored and near the doctor for at least an hour in case
there was something to be worried about.


Luckily, nothing was wrong, no skull fractures or anything of the kind. No internal bleeding and no
concussion. The doctor mentioned that it is a misconception that we need to keep a kid awake
if they fall on their head, but that we must just watch they don’t lose consciousness. This didn’t
make much sense, how would you know the difference. So I did a little research and found this
interesting article on head injuries in kids. Hope it helps you all.

I’ve sure learnt my lesson and won’t be having any more moments of brainlessness anytime soon.

Cheers vir Eers

- Toppie se Vrou

Head Injuries

Head injuries fall into two categories:

1. external (usually scalp) injuries

2. internal head injuries, which may involve the skull, the blood vessels within
the skull, or the brain

Fortunately, most childhood falls or blows to the head result in injury to the scalp only,
which is usually more frightening than threatening. An internal head injury could have
more serious implications because it may result in bleeding or bruising of the

External (Scalp) Injuries

The scalp is rich with blood vessels, so even a minor cut there can bleed profusely. The
"goose egg" or swelling that may appear after a head blow is the result of the scalp's
veins leaking fluid or blood into (and under) the scalp. It may take days or even a week to disappear.

What to look for and what to do:

* Call the doctor if your child is an infant; has lost consciousness, even
momentarily; or if a child of any age has any of these symptoms:

o won't stop crying

o complains of head and neck pain

o vomits repeatedly

o difficult to awaken

o becomes difficult to console

o isn't walking normally

* If your child is not an infant, has not lost consciousness, and is alert and
behaving normally after the fall or blow:

o Apply an ice pack or instant cold pack to the injured area for 20 minutes
every 3 to 4 hours. If you use ice, always wrap it in a washcloth or sock;
ice applied directly to bare skin can cause cold injury to the skin.

o Observe your child carefully for the next 24 hours. If you notice any
of the signs of internal injury (see below), call your doctor immediately.

o If the incident has occurred close to bedtime or naptime and your child
falls asleep soon afterward, check in once or twice to also check for
disturbances in color or breathing.

* If color and breathing are normal, and you observe or sense no other
abnormalities, let your child sleep (unless the doctor has advised otherwise).
There's no need to keep a child awake after a head injury.

* If you aren't comfortable with your child's appearance (trust your instincts),
rouse your child partially by sitting him or her up. Your child should fuss a
bit and attempt to resettle. If he or she doesn't protest, try to awaken your
child fully. If your child can't be awakened or shows any signs of internal injury
(see below), call the doctor or an ambulance.

Suspected Internal Injury

The brain is cushioned by cerebrospinal fluid, but a severe blow to the head may knock the
brain into the side of the skull or tear blood vessels. Some internal head injuries —
complications of a fractured skull, torn blood vessels, or damage to the brain itself —
can be serious and possibly life threatening.

Different levels of injury require different levels of concern. It can be difficult to determine
the level of injury, so it's always wise to discuss a head injury with your doctor.

What to Look for and What to Do

Call 911 if your child shows any of these symptoms after a head injury:

* -unconsciousness for more than a few minutes

* -abnormal breathing

* -obvious serious wound

* -bleeding or clear fluid from the nose, ear, or mouth

* -disturbance of speech or vision

* -pupils of unequal size

* -weakness or paralysis

* -neck pain or stiffness

If your child is unconscious:

* -Do not try to move your child in case there is a neck or spine injury.

* -Call for help.

* -Turn a child who is vomiting or having a seizure onto his or her side while trying
to keep the head and neck straight. This will help prevent choking and provide
protection in case of neck and spine injury.

If your child is conscious:

* -Do your best to keep your child calm and still.

* -If there's bleeding, apply a clean or sterile bandage.

* -Do not attempt to cleanse the wound, which may aggravate bleeding and/or
cause serious complications if the skull is fractured.

* -Do not apply direct pressure to the wound if you suspect the skull is fractured.

* -Do not remove any object that's stuck in the wound.


Concussions are also a type of internal head injury. A concussion is the temporary loss of
normal brain function due to an injury. Repeated concussions can result in permanent injury
to the brain. However, it's possible to get a concussion that's mild and doesn't result in
long-term damage.

One of the most common reasons kids get concussions is through sports, so make sure
yours wear appropriate protective gear and don't let them continue to play if they've had
a head injury.

If your child sustains an injury to the head, watch for these signs of a possible concussion:

* -"seeing stars" and feeling dazed, dizzy, or lightheaded

* -memory loss, such as trouble remembering what happened right before and after the injury

* -vomiting

* -headaches

* -blurred vision and sensitivity to light

* -slurred speech or saying things that don't make sense

* -difficulty concentrating, thinking, or making decisions

* -difficulty with coordination or balance (such as being - a concussion, call your
doctor for further instructions.

Preventing Head Injuries

It's impossible to prevent kids from ever being injured, but there are ways to help prevent head blows.

Make sure that:

* -your home is childproofed to prevent household accidents

* -your kids always wear appropriate headgear and safety -equipment when , in-line skating, skateboarding, -snowboarding or skiing, and playing contactsports. -Wearing an appropriately fitting bike helmet, for instance, reduces the
risk of head injury by about 85%.

* -your child takes it easy after a head injury, especially if there is a concussion

* -your child doesn't go back to rough play or playing sports until the doctor gives
approval. (If your child reinjures the brain while it's still healing, it will take even
more time to completely heal.)

Reviewed by: Kate M. Cronan, MD
Date reviewed: January 2011

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