Concussion in Children – What You Need to Know

Many people believe that concussions are something only football players and elite athletes need to worry about.

However, this injury has become an epidemic for children no matter the activities they take part in. Due to the different grades of concussions, milder impacts to the head have little to no lingering symptoms, causing children to brush off the blow and continue with their day as normal.

Falls, car crashes and accidental blows to the head can also cause brain injury.

Most young children aren’t aware of what a concussion is. When they get hurt, they don’t act on it and fail to tell their parents about any symptoms they're experiencing. Learning how to spot and treat concussions in children will allow you to react quickly to prevent any long-term damage from occurring.

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What Is a Concussion?

a toddler who suffered a head injury using an ice pack on her head A concussion is a mild traumatic brain injury that may be caused by a blow, bump, or jolt to the head.

While concussions are usually not life-threatening, their effects can be serious.

Most concussions happen on the playground, from playing sports or falling off their bike. Sudden movement can cause the brain to bounce around or twist in the skull. This creates temporary chemical changes and damages or stretches brain cells. This can affect mental stamina and function, forcing the brain to work longer and harder to complete simple tasks.

Concussions can be especially dangerous for toddlers and young children because they may not be able to describe how they’re feeling. The good news is that most mTBIs are rather mild and individuals can expect to fully recover if appropriate care and treatment were taken.

Children who have suffered a concussion and are reinjured before they have fully healed may develop complications or their healing may be delayed.


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Signs and Symptoms of Concussions in Children

A concussion can affect a child in many ways, including physically, cognitively, and emotionally.

Though the signs of a concussion are generally the same for people of all ages, you may have to look a little more carefully when trying to determine if a baby or toddler has suffered a blow to the head.

Some common concussion symptoms to look out for include:a kid having trouble focusing while reading because of a concussion

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue and trouble sleeping
  • Sensitivity to noise and light
  • Irritability and rapid changes or mood
  • Balance problems

In some cases, concussion symptoms don’t show up immediately after the incident. Concussion symptoms may take hours or even days to appear. The most important thing you can do is to watch your child very carefully and observe any changes in behaviour. If your child develops any of the following symptoms after a head injury, seek medical attention immediately:

  • Inability to recognize people or places
  • One pupil is larger than the other
  • Unusual behaviour
  • Slurred speech
  • Extreme drowsiness
  • Crying that can't be consoled

When dealing with children and their brain health, it is better to be safe than sorry. If you suspect that your child is suffering from a concussion or has suffered a head injury, seek medical attention.

Concussion Recovery and Treatment at Broadview Health Centre

concussion specialists speaking to child and her mother about concussion treatment Leaving a concussion undiagnosed and untreated can lead to long-term complications, especially in children whose brains are still in the critical development stage.

Concussions don’t show up on CAT scans or an MRI. A diagnosis will often be made based on the severity of the injury sustained, the symptoms present, and the results of a physical exam.

While there is no set “cure” for concussions, there are several effective therapies such as vestibular rehabilitation or vision therapy that’ll help treat any lingering symptoms and improve your quality of life.

No two concussions are the same, which is why our specialists take an individualized approach when treating traumatic brain injuries. If you or your child has sustained head trauma and are experiencing any of the above symptoms, make sure to contact our specialists immediately.