Accidental Childhood Head Injury.

Picture of a smiling young boy of African origin stooping behind a football.

A friend was coming down the stairs carrying her infant son.

In a split second, she lost her balance on a step, tumbling down the stairs.

As she fell, she lost hold of her baby who fell down the steps a few seconds ahead of her.

Accidental childhood head injury is not as uncommon as we may think.

Some scenarios are:

  • A child falling down the stairs
  • Dropping a baby down the stairs
  • Baby rolling off the bed or sofa
  • Children hurting the head against a hard object while playing etc

One can hardly think of anything more panic inducing than a new baby dropping to the floor or falling down a flight of stairs.


In newborns and young babies, a medical assessment is always important very quickly after a fall.

The risk of skull fracture and bleeding in the brain is important following a head injury in young babies and while things may look ‘fine’ initially, delayed reactions can happen hours, days or weeks later.

In older children, the risk also applies, depending on the severity of impact.

Whil head injury can occur in people of all ages, it’s very common in older children because of their playful nature.

When a child experiences a knock, bang or blow to the head, first you want to sit them down, offer comfort and assess the nature of the injury.

If there are no visible injuries like cuts or bruises, apply a cold compress over the area.

You may also give painkillers to the child if they are alert and able to swallow (not vomiting or drowsy).

Ensure that for the first 24hours, an adult remains with the child at all times.

Symptoms that may indicate serious Head Injury
  • Loss of consciousness following the incident: this may be brief or prolonged.
  • Fits or seizures.
  • Vomiting several times/continuously after the head injury.
  • Inability staying awake
  • Blood or clear fluid coming out of the ear or nose.
  • Memory loss or confused speech/behaviour.
  • Difficulty walking, numbness or other altered sensation.
  • Large cut on the head.

If ANY of these symptoms occur, take the child to the nearest A&E or call for the ambulance service.

Return to ‘Heart Stopping Emergencies that could happen at Home’

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