Head Injury

Advice for parents and carers of children

If during the next 48 hours your baby/child:

  • Vomits repeatedly i.e. more than twice (more than 10 minutes between each episode)
  • Becomes confused or unaware of their surroundings
  • Loses consciousness, becomes drowsy or difficult to wake
  • Has a convulsion or fit
  • Develops difficulty speaking or understanding what you are saying
  • Develops weakness in their arms and legs or starts losing their balance
  • Develops problems with their eyesight
  • Has clear fluid comes out of their nose or ears
  • Does not wake for feeds or cries constantly and cannot be soothed

You need urgent help.

Go to the nearest Hospital Emergency (A&E) Department or phone 999

If during the next 48 hours your child:

  • Develops a persistent headache that doesn’t go away (despite painkillers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen)
  • Develops a worsening headache.

You need to contact a doctor or nurse today.

Please ring your GP surgery or call NHS 111 - dial 111

If your child:

  • Is alert and interacts with you
  • Vomits, but only up to twice
  • Experiences mild headaches, struggles to concentrate, lacks appetite or has problems sleeping in the next few days (if these symptoms go on for more than 2 weeks, make an appointment to see your GP).

Self care

Continue providing your child’s care at home. If you are still concerned about your child, call NHS 111 – dial 111

Things you shouldn’t worry about

  • Your child may experience various symptoms, including mild headache, feeling sick (without vomiting),dizziness, bad temper, problems concentrating, difficult remembering things, tiredness, lack of appetite or problems sleeping – these should disappear over the next 2 weeks.
  • If you are very concerned about these symptoms or they last longer than 2 weeks, you should seek medical advice from your doctor.

Things that should help your child get better more quickly

  • Ensure that they have plenty of rest and avoid stressful situations.
  • Do not play any contact sport (e.g. football) for at least 1 week and then a phased return to sport by 3 weeks.
  • Avoid long periods on computers, mobile phones or watching television.

Advice about going back to nursery / school

  • Don’t allow your child to return to school until you feel that they have completely recovered.
  • Try not to leave your child alone at home for the first 48 hours after a significant head injury.

Long term problems

  • Most children recover quickly from their accident and experience no long-term problems. However, some children only develop problems after a few weeks or months. If you start to feel that things are not quite right for your child (such as memory problems, change in behaviour), please contact your doctor so that they can check to make sure that they are recovering properly.

For further support and advice about head injuries, contact:

Headway UK 0808 800 2244


Headway do not deal with medical enquiries.

This guidance is written by healthcare professionals from across Hampshire, Dorset and the Isle of Wight.

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