Childrens Head Injuries 

A head injury occurs when a child has a knock to the head that causes lumps, bruising or swelling to the head.  More severe injuries to your child may result in the loss of consciousness. Children will often have head injuries and it can be hard to tell how serious they are.

Signs and Symptoms of head injury

Head injuries can be mild, moderate or severe.  There are different signs and symptoms that will assist to indicate the severity of the injury.  If you are unsure, seek medical advice.

Minor head injury

  • Remains alert and interactive with you.
  • May have a bruise or small cut.
  • May vomit, only once.
  • No loss of consciousness.
  • Otherwise normal self.

Moderate head injury

  • Loss of consciousness for less than 30 seconds.
  • Alert and responds to you.
  • Headache.
  • Bruises, cuts or lump to the head.
  • Vomited, more than twice.
  • May have had a brief seizure.

Severe head injury

  • Loss of consciousness for more than 30 seconds.
  • Does not respond to you.
  • Drowsy.
  • Has limb weakness.
  • Unequal pupils.
  • Has repeat seizures.
  • Has an object stuck in their head.

If your child has had a moderate or severe head injury you should seek medical help for your child by calling an ambulance on 000 so that they can be assessed, treated and observed in hospital.


  • Children with a minor head injury should make a full recovery and pain from the knock should last a short time.
  • Ice packs applied to the area will help reduce the swelling.
  • Give analgesia such as paracetamol if your child has a headache.
  • Observe your child for drowsiness that lasts beyond a few hours after the initial injury.

There is no need to keep your child awake, if they want to sleep you can wake them every half an hour to check on their condition.

If your child has a moderate or severe head injury they will be assessed and treated appropriately in hospital.

Things to remember

  • Seek medical advice if your child has received a head injury.
  • If your child shows any signs such as unusual behavior, persistent headache, ongoing vomiting, seizures, difficulty waking or you are concerned for any reason you should seek medical help.
  • In an emergency call 000.
  • Discuss with your doctor what to look out for when your child is discharged home from hospital following a head injury.

Other interesting Childrens Health Facts – Learn more

Paediatric Courses for Parents, Grandparents and Carers’ – Learn more

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