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Discharge Advice for Children who have Sustained a Minor Head Injury

Children’s Services,¬†Colchester Hospital

Children’s Emergency Department
Tel: 01206 742847
Children’s Assessment Unit
Tel: 01206 746200

What to expect

After a head injury, your child may experience some of the side effects listed below:

  • mild headache
  • feeling sick (without vomiting)
  • feeling dizzy
  • less tolerant/ more bad tempered than usual
  • more tired than usual
  • less hungry

See your GP if these minor symptoms last more than two weeks.

More Information

  • confusion, strange behaviour or difficulty understanding
  • being sick (vomiting)
  • worsening headache or headache that does not go away with paracetamol
  • loss of use of part of the body – for example, weakness in an arm or leg
  • dizziness, loss of balance or walking strangely
  • fitting (seizures) or collapse
  • any new problems with hearing, speech or vision (new onset of deafness, slurring words, blurriness or double vision)
  • blood or clear fluid leaking from the nose or ear abnormal drowsiness when he or she would normally be wide awake*
    *Many children will want to sleep soon after a bump to the head and it is fine to let them. This should look like a normal, peaceful sleep. If you are concerned, try to wake him or her to check for a response – grumpiness is to be expected.

When you go home from hospital, you can check on your child a few times in the night in the same way to see that they are sleeping normally, if you are worried.
If your child becomes unconscious, dial 999 for an ambulance immediately.

  • lots of rest
  • reduced time on computers and periods of intense concentration
  • for headaches: mild pain relief medication which you normally keep at home. Give as per the instructions on the packaging
  • be left unattended (without a responsible adult) for the first 48 hours after going home
  • be given any other medication (apart from mild pain relief medication), unless it has been prescribed
  • return to school until they are fully recovered
  • ride a bicycle etc until fit to return to school
  • play contact sports for at least three weeks (unless your GP has agreed)

Most children who sustain a head injury recover quickly from their accident and experience no long-term problems.

If you feel your child is not recovering as quickly as you would expect, such as continuing to have poor memory or a change in behaviour, please take him or her back to your own doctor (GP) for a review.

To find out how to give us feedback on your visit or healthcare experience, please visit www.esneft.nhs.uk/get-involved/your- views-matter/friends-and-family-test/, or speak to a member of staff on the ward or department you are in.