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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 also be bruises or cuts on your child's 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 your child as instructed below and visit your nearest Emergency Department if you have any concerns.

  • 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.
  • Have your child rest in bed until they feel better.
  • Headache or pain should not be severe and your child should respond to a single dose of paracetamol. If symptoms persist beyond the timeframe indicated by your doctor at discharge, please seek further medical advice.
  • Give your child clear fluids such as water, apple juice or ‘flat’ soft drinks (e.g. lemonade) until they have gone six hours without vomiting.

Important information

You should call 000 or go to your nearest Emergency Department 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 nearest Emergency Department.

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 28/4/2020.
Consumers were consulted in the development of this patient information.
Last consumer engagement date: 01/10/2019
For further translated health information, you can visit healthtranslations.vic.gov.au/ supported by the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services that offers a range of patient information in multiple languages.
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