Your child got injured in a freak accident. You're afraid he or she has a brain injury, and you want to get proper treatment. You know that brain injuries are best treated right away, and you don't want to delay.
The problem, though, is that your child is too young to effectively communicate regarding symptoms. It's making it very hard to figure out exactly how he or she is doing or how you should proceed.
This is a common issue that doctors run into, but it doesn't have to be a roadblock. Below are seven common symptoms that you may notice even when your child can't tell you specifically what's going on.
1. Nursing and eating habits change.
Often, there is a loss of appetite. A healthy child who used to nurse three times a day is no longer interested.
2. Easy irritability.
This is a bit harder to pin down because young kids are often easily irritable. Just look for a change. If every little thing sets off a tantrum, an underlying issue could be to blame.
3. Endless crying.
Similarly, children may cry more and you may not be able to console them. Of course, children already cry frequently, but parents know various ways to help them. When nothing works, it's a red flag.
4. Altered sleep habits.
Your child used to go to bed easily and predictably. Now, he or she never falls asleep, or the child wakes up every hour. Drastic changes to the sleep schedule are also a red flag, and they can lead to irritability and other issues.
5. Losing interest.
Your child used to love to play ball or play with dolls, but now he or she doesn't care. For older kids, maybe your child had a favorite TV show. Now, he or she never wants to watch. It's telling when children don't enjoy activities and toys that they once loved.
6. Appearing depressed.
Remember that depression is not the same as sorrow. Even if your child doesn't cry constantly, he or she just seems unhappy and "down" all of the time. This is drastic when you used to have a happy child who smiled and laughed easily.
7. Trouble paying attention.
Don't just write this off as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). If your child can never focus, a brain injury could be the root cause.
As you can see from these common symptoms, things still aren't clear-cut. Did sleep patterns change because of an injury or just because the child is getting older? Is he or she losing interest in favorite toys because they're not new and fun anymore? Children go through many different stages with sleeping, eating, playing and everything else.
While there are many questions to ask, the key is to know that these symptoms, especially when you spot numerous ones at the same time, are red flags. It's time to learn more and talk to a medical professional. As you move forward and find out exactly what the injury entails and what treatment your child needs, keep your legal rights in mind.