Brain injuries are very complicated. The signs and symptoms differ from one incident to the next, making them a challenge to diagnose and treat uniformly. This is especially true for children, since they cannot always express their symptoms accurately -- or, in some cases when they are very young, they are unable to describe their symptoms at all.
If you worry that your child has suffered a serious head injury, it is always best to err on the side of caution. Get medical help and have a doctor do an evaluation. Remember that head injuries can occur in many different situations, such as:
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Bicycle wrecks
- Playground falls
- Being struck with objects
It can help to know what signs and symptoms of which you should be aware. Some tend to show up immediately, but others may not show up for hours or even days after the accident or injury. If you see any of the many symptom of traumatic brain injuries after a suspicious accident, seek immediate medical attention for your child.
Again, brain injuries differ from one case to the next, depending on the severity, the part of the brain that suffers the injury and a host of other factors. Some potential symptoms include:
- Nausea and vomiting. Even one instance is a red flag.
- Feeling dizzy and lightheaded. The child may act like he or she is about to pass out.
- Seeing stars. Young children may describe this in different ways.
- Becoming unconscious. Any amount of time is possibly dangerous, but you need to be especially careful when it lasts for more than a few seconds.
- Breathing abnormally. Breathing problems often mean it's time to call 911.
- Trouble speaking. This could include slurred speech, trouble finding the right words or actually saying the wrong words entirely. This can be hard to identify in young children who are just learning to talk, but just look for any significant change.
- Vision problems. Blurred vision is the main issue, along with sensitivity to light.
- Size difference between the two pupils. They should be the same size and should not be overly dilated.
- Bleeding from any part of the head. This generally means the ears, nose and mouth.
- Seizures. This also means it is time to call 911.
- Trouble waking up. The child may appear overly fatigued and will be hard to wake up after going to sleep. It may be best to keep him or her awake.
- Balance difficulties. The child may fall down or appear very unsteady, even when he or she knows how to walk.
As you can imagine, serious brain injuries that bring on one or more of these symptoms can land your child in the hospital. Make sure you know all of your rights to pursue compensation from any at-fault parties.