Head bumps - when to be concerned? — The Bump
Toddlers: 12 - 24 Months

Head bumps - when to be concerned?

Call me paranoid, but head bumps always make me nervous. I never know when to be concerned about a possible head injury. DS is super active and has had a few head bumps as a toddler. 

Tonight, I was walking down the steps with DS and holding his hand as he walked down the stairs. He's good with the stairs, as long as he's holding one of our hands. We were about three steps from the bottom, when he slipped taking a step and I lost grasp on his hand and he tumbled. It was a minor fall, but he did fall backwards (not hard) on the metal railing. He cried for less than 30 seconds and then seemed fine.

DS wanted to go outside with DH to see if his Thomas the Train stuffed toy was in his truck. As DH was carrying DS back inside, he said DS leaned his head forward and the door hit his head. Again, he cried for less than 10-15 seconds and seems fine.

From one of these two things, he has a small knot on his head. We tried putting ice on it but DS wanted no parts of it. DS is now in bed. Would you be concerned? How do you know when to be concerned about a head bump? 

Though I hate it anytime gets hurt, I especially hate it when he bumps his head right before bed because its not like I can observe him awake to make sure he's OK. I never know when to be concerned about a head bump (again, you can call me paranoid, but DS is my first), and as an extremely active toddler, DS has gotten a few.

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Re: Head bumps - when to be concerned?

  • I wouldn't worry.  Bumps happen!
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    Lila Grace, born 4/4/09
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  • DS recently fell head first (hard) into the concrete, and he was fine. As long as they don't throw up and it goose-eggs out than they are ok. I know what you mean though. I was a wreck when DS fell, but my bro & dad are paramedic specialists and told me that I had nothing to worry about.
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  • I would never admit this, but I have shined a light into DD's eyes to make sure her pupils dilate and she doesn't have a concusion.

    Paranoia aside, as long as they're not crying uncontrollably, acting weird, or having a glazed look, my doctor has said most head bumps aren't issue. 

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  • Unless throwing up, acting "off" or extremely lethargic (aside from bedtime of course), I wouldn't worry.
  • I'm a pediatric neuropsychologist, so I could talk lots about head injuries. In short, babies generally don't grow taller than the durability of their skulls. That is, kids are generally able to fall from standing and be okay, given that they are closer to the earth! No head injuries are good, but as long as they are not falling from something taller than what they are, or if there is an extra force (like would happen in a car accident), you should be okay.

    That said, signs to watch for are lethargy, vomiting, inconsolability, or a really huge lump or deep cut (or of course really obvious red flags like unconsciousness for any amount of time or a seizure).

  • I understand being paranoid about this.  I am a registered nurse and have (more than once!) still found myself putting a call in to the Pediatrician regarding a head bump.  

    The first one was when I got up in the middle of the night to nurse and as I was heading out of our bedroom with her cradled in my arm...I hit her tiny head on the door frame.  She was less than 2 weeks old.  I called the on-call nurse at 2am.  The nurse said:  Your a first time Mommy, aren't you?  I still told her I thought maybe she needed a head scan.  Haha!  I hope your LO is fine and he probably is!  Us Mom's seem to get more upset than our LO's in my experience.

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