This post is again inspired by the latest events in my little school girl’s life. I knew the moment she stepped into big school, she’ll be faced with challenges that she would learn from including falls, bruises and scratches. But how hard could a fall get and how big or small the bump, bruises and scratches are? THAT IS THE QUESTION.
A few days ago, Peaches went home with a nasty head bump at the back of her head. I wouldn’t have known about it if she didn’t complain about how the shower is making her head hurt. When I checked for bumps, it was there- huge and painful to touch. I asked where she got it and with a matter-of-fact-tone told me she fell and hit her head on the floor because her classmate pushed her. MYGERD. At this point, you know I’m trying to control my facial reactions so as not to scare her of what possible negative reactions I show her. (I learned that your reaction to such things is important!)
Anyway, with gentle prodding I learned she was “accidentally” pushed and the little girl said sorry. You ask what the teacher and teacher aid did? Well nothing. They didn’t bother take Peaches to the clinic to have her head checked JUST BECAUSE SHE SAID SHE’S FINE AND NOTHING IS HURTING. You would think one would be sure and take the child anyway, yes? Well not in our case 🙁
So what do you do when your child bumped his or her head?
1. Don’t panic Be calm in your demeanor because as long as your child sees you remain relaxed, he or she is more likely to calm down.
2. Ice, ice, ice Sit your child in a comfortable place and gently hold an ice pack on the bump (do not put pressure so you won’t scare your child when he/she feels pain). Cold compress will decrease the size of the bump. Apply the ice for 20 minutes and then take a 5-minute break, then 20 minutes again. Offer your child a treat to eat during the icing to consol him/her. You can let the child watch TV while doing it too.
Did you know that a large bump will likely leave a tiny but hard calcium deposit that you can feel under the skin? Cold compress may help prevent this though.
3. Stop the bleeding The area on our face and scalp is extremely rich in blood vessels. In event of simple cuts on the face and scalp, it will bleed much more than other areas of the body. What you do is to gently apply pressure on the cut using a cloth (what I do is first without ice and second application is cloth with ice inside it). Children virtually never lose too much blood from a cut or bump, even though it may seem like a lot.
I remember a friend’s son had an accident on a playground and bumped his head on a rough surface and when the child got up his face and shirt was covered in blood! Turns out it needed minor stitches but nothing scary (said the Doctor!).
My suggestion though is to stoop the bleeding and then examine the cut closely and decide if it needs stitching or not.
4. Observe your child This one’s the waiting game. Don’t let your child sleep 1 hour after the fall so you can observe for possible unusual behavior like drowsiness, vomiting, severe pain on the head, short attention span and so on.
Remember that when you decide to take your child to the doctor, they will want to know more on HOW THE CHILD WAS AFTER THE FALL and not during the fall. Now, I can make a list of things to look out for but you know what, trust your Motherly instinct it over rides any list there is. You know your child and you feel it when something’s not right. IF you do, call the doctor and talk to him what’s bothering you.
When to bring your child to the Emergency Room?
If after the fall, the child:
1. Loses consciousness
2. Vomits more than 3 times – Vomiting is a normal effect when children hit their head hard causing slight trauma to the head but if it goes on more than thrice, you should bring the child to the doctor.
3. Unusual behavior- when child does not cry or fight you when you try to put pressure on his/her bump is something that should concern you. The child that loses focus on anything should also be checked.
4. Lost his/her balance – dizziness is of course expected but when your child literally falls while walking, it’s a cause of alarm
5. Severe headache – if the child cries even after an hour, consult a doctor. If the child can speak and complains of headache even after an hour, go for a check up.
6. Eye signs – Our eyes aren’t just windows to our soul, it’s also the window to our brain! In fact doctors check on the eyes for signs of brain swelling because the back of the eye is connected with our brain. Obvious signs you might want to look out for are cross-eyed, one pupil is larger than the other, double vision or blurred vision, and when you notice your child tripping on things that are easy to see.
7. WHEN IN DOUBT, CALL A DOCTOR.