There is a lot of confusion about concussions and children. Concussions have been in the news a lot due to football players sustaining concussions and later developing CTE. This has made parents anxious about their children playing contact sports, or even sustaining concussions in ways they cannot control, including car accidents or slip and fall accidents. As a parent, you may be unsure of how a child can sustain a concussion, what the signs are your child has one, what you should do if your child has one, and how long it can take your child to recover from one. Here is some of the information that every parent needs to know about concussions and children.
What Are the Common Ways Children Sustain a Concussion?
Children can sustain a concussion in a variety of ways. The most common way comes from falling. The act of falling can result when you have a sudden increase in acceleration that causes the brain to shift rapidly in the skull. The sudden jolt of the head-snapping forward or backward is the primary way the injury occurs. Any hard hit that happens to the neck, face, head, or body can cause or contribute to a concussion. This typically occurs when a child is playing sports that are high contact. It is advised that children always wear protective head equipment when playing sports. The last common injury that can result in a concussion in children is being involved in a car accident or being struck by an object.
What Are the Signs That a Child Has a Concussion?
Concussions for children can be particularly difficult to notice. A child may not be developed mentally enough to explain how they are feeling or may not even be aware that anything is wrong with them. For young babies, you are going to want to pay close attention to their behaviors. Look at their head and see if you notice any bumps or bruises. They may also cry when you move their head or may even be irritable where you notice a change in their demeanor. It is also important to focus on any changes in the babies sleeping. A concussion can affect whether the sleep more or less. For toddlers, the symptoms are essentially the same, except they may demonstrate big swings in their behavior such as less interest in playing or appearing to be disinterested in participating in activities they enjoy.
Common signs of concussions in children of all ages include headache, nausea, vomiting, blurry vision, memory problems, concentration issues, sensitivity to light, irritability, and personality changes. If your child has hit their head, or you suspect they may have, you should be on the lookout for these signs.
What Should You Do If You Suspect a Child Has a Concussion?
Perhaps the most important thing to do when a child has trauma to the head is to always address it as soon as possible. Not all hits to the head require a trip to the emergency room, however, if you suspect that your child sustained heavy trauma to the head or is exhibiting signs of a concussion, then take your child immediately to see a doctor. Signs that medical treatment is needed are can be apparent fairly quickly after a head injury. You may notice the child has a hard time standing upright or maintaining their balance. For babies, you may notice that they refuse to latch on if nursing or cannot be awakened from their sleep.
How Long Does It Take a Child to Recover from a Concussion?
Each child and each concussion is unique, therefore the timeline in which your child starts to feel better can vary. Generally speaking, most concussion symptoms can be cleared in about two weeks. In this timeframe, it is advised that you closely monitor your child and see if there are any reoccurring symptoms. Keep in mind that some concussion symptoms can take up to a month to completely heal. If at any point you seem to notice anything that may concern you about your child’s demeanor or behavior while in this time frame, please seek medical advice as soon as possible to rule out any further complications related to the concussion. In order to help your child make a quicker recovery, stop any activity that may expose them to further trauma and encourage them to get plenty of rest.
What Factors Affect How Long It Takes a Child to Recover from a Concussion?
The biggest factor that will assist your child’s recovery after suffering a concussion is going to be ensuring that they receive plenty of rest. If your child does not get sufficient or adequate rest, then the recovery time from the concussion can take a lot longer. Additionally, make sure that you reduce your child’s screen time. Concussion symptoms can prolong recovery, causing the eyes to strain and putting extra pressure on the brain. Additionally, reduce the amount of time the child is exposed to bright lights, as fluorescent lighting can also cause unnecessary strain. Encourage your child to reduce their movement as well. You do not want them making sudden movements that may aggravate any soreness or pressure they are experiencing.
What Are the Long-Term Effects Related to Children Suffering from Concussions?
Having long term effects due to a single concussion in a child is rare, but it can happen. One of the long-term effects can be having difficulty with concentration or inability to focus. One problem can be having a hard time recalling memories or a considerable difference in their behavior. They may exhibit more irritability or act out in ways they have not before. Although long-term effects are rare, keep in mind that the more concussions a child has, the more likely it is that they will start to develop longer-term issues with the side effects of concussions. Disorders such as their ability to use their sense of smell or taste can develop, and in more serious cases, they can start to show signs of depression or other psychological issues.
In most cases, if your child sustains a concussion, they will recover rather quickly and be just fine. Unfortunately though, not every head injury has the same results. Your child may suffer from a traumatic brain injury following a car accident or slip and fall accident. Traumatic brain injuries can be traumatic, and they can seriously impede your child from living a normal life, based on the severity of the injury. If your child has sustained a traumatic brain injury, and someone else had fault, or was to blame, you may be able to bring a personal injury lawsuit against the other party to help recover money for your child’s current and future medical expenses. Reach out to a personal injury lawyer today.