Pediatric head injury

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Updated: 1/14/2003 1:29 pm Published: 1/14/2003 1:29 pm

Head injuries may be more severe than they seem. To be safe, call a doctor immediately or, when necessary, call 9-1-1. If the injury is mild, a child will remain alert and awake, and crying shouldn't last more than ten minutes. When it also causes dizziness, nausea, headache, or vomiting, it still could be minor, unless there's a significant cut. Treat a cut to the head by washing it with soap and water. If there's a bruise, apply a cold compress to help reduce swelling. Even when the injury's mild, be sure to observe the child to see whether any signs of more severe damage develop. Check for these symptoms: the child is excessively sleepy or lethargic (luh-THAR-jik), a headache won't go away, or there is continual vomiting. You notice weakness in arms or legs, clumsy walking, slurred speech, or difficulty seeing. If the child loses consciousness, call a doctor or 9-1-1. If the child's unconscious, assume there's a neck injury. Make sure the child is breathing and don't move the child, unless it's dangerous to stay there. When there's bleeding, apply direct pressure with a clean cloth over the wound. Remove any broken teeth and foreign matter from the child's mouth. Be sure to save the teeth and wrap them in a cool, moist cloth, and bring them to the doctor or dentist for possible replanting.

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