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Head injury


Head injury

Head injuries can be caused by striking the head against an object or a blow to the head. This often happens in car accidents or from falls. There may be bruises or cuts on the face or head. A mild head injury is sometimes called concussion. Some children are unconscious for a short time just after the injury.

Common symptoms of this include:

  • headache
  • nausea
  • vomiting once or twice
  • mild sleepiness
  • dizziness.

A head injury can cause slow bleeding or other problems inside the head that may not be noticeable at first.

Discharge instructions

Although the doctor who examined your child may not find any serious brain or skull injuries during the examination it is possible for more serious symptoms to develop later on. You should follow these instructions, along with those given to you by the doctor, in order to detect any deterioration.

Check symptoms listed below and go to your closest hospital that treats children if they are present.

  • Headache or pain should not be severe and the child should respond to the normal childhood dose of paracetamol.
  • Give your child clear fluids such as water, apple juice or de-fizzed soft drinks until they have gone six hours without vomiting. Children will often sleep after the excitement of their trip to hospital.
  • Have your child rest in bed until they feel better.
  • Check your child every hour for the first four hours to ensure that they respond normally to gentle stimulation.
  • Wake your child completely once or twice to make sure that they can walk and talk.

Important information

You should call 000 or go to your closest hospital that treats children if your child develops any of the following:

  • increased sleepiness or unable to wake up completely
  • increased headache
  • changes in behaviour or doesn’t recognise family or friends
  • vomiting more than three times or forceful vomiting
  • pupils (black centre of the eye) that are not the same size
  • stumbling or other problems with walking
  • weakness of the arms or legs
  • seizures (convulsions)
  • double vision
  • slurred speech
  • irritability.

Emergency contact

To ensure your child receives the best possible care in an emergency, you should call 000 or go to your closest hospital that treats children.

If you have any concerns or questions please contact your doctor.

Mater Children’s Private Brisbane

Salmon Building,

Raymond Terrace,

South Brisbane QLD 4101

Telephone: 07 3163 8111



Mater acknowledges consumer consultation in the development of this patient information.
Mater Doc Num: PI-CLN-470018
Last modified 09/8/2017.
Consumers were consulted in the development of this patient information.
Last consumer engagement date: 22/6/2015
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