Brain injury awareness is at an all-time high, thanks in large part to high-profile lawsuits related to head injuries in sports. This increased knowledge is helpful in re-iterating that even seemingly “minor” brain injuries can have serious consequences in both the short and long-term. For this reason, all those who suffer hard head contact need to be incredibly vigilant about their condition, seeking out proper medical care when necessary.
But what exactly is the line between a “hard knock” and an injury that needs professional aid? It is impossible to say with certainty.
Recently, a helpful UT San Diego story discussed this issue in relation to toddler injuries. All those with young children appreciate that it is likely impossible to prevent all bumps and bruises to youngsters as they grow up. Those learning to walk, exploring new spaces, or otherwise engaging with the world will undoubtedly take some tumbles, hit some corners, and injure themselves. But how do parents know when an injury is truly minor and when professional help is needed?
When a “Bump” is More than a Bump
The article points to a 2009 study that may offer some help in distinguishing degrees of injury in children. The research effort created simple guidelines to differentiate between minor head injuries and severe ones. These rules were split into two: one group based on visual signs and the other which includes responses from children of an age where they can verbalize feelings.
For example, signs of serious injury requires some medical help for those who cannot yet talk (under two years old) include any falls over two feet, where consciousness is lost, and large visible bumps to the head other than the forehead. Those older than two years old, signs of seriousness similarly include falls from large heights, loss of consciousness, vomiting, and serious headache.
Tests in Serious Cases
If you child takes a tumble and exists some of the signs of serious injury, it is critical that you take them to the emergency room. Once there, the doctor may perform more sophisticated tests to gauge the seriousness on the child’s brain. This is most commonly done via a CAT scan. The scan will look for bleeding around the brain or fractures.
However, even if fractures or bleeding are not found, that does not mean that your child did not suffer a brain injury. For example, some of the most common brain injuries affecting children are concussions. Concussions occur when the brain was “shaken up” inside the skull. If the diagnosis is concussion, then rest and time away from physical activity will be prescribed. It is critical to follow those concussion recommendations. While a single concussion may not have long-term consequences, follow-up head injuries can be far more serious after a concussion.
Proper medical attention is always step one following an accident that may involve brain injury. In addition, if the injury was caused in some preventable way, including auto accidents or slip and fall situations, then it may be prudent to seek out an injury attorney to learn about your legal rights to receive compensation to help in recovery.
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