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What are the Effects of Pediatric Head Trauma?

By Patti Kate
Updated May 17, 2024
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The effects of pediatric head trauma depend upon the extent of the injury. Some injuries involving pediatric head trauma might result in concussion, coma or brain damage. Loss of consciousness might be another aspect of pediatric trauma to the head. Bleeding within the brain is another risk factor.

A child might have sustained a blow to the head, although early warning signs of impending trouble might not be evident or easily recognized by the parent. Even though the injury might not have appeared to be serious, a concussion may have occurred. Some symptoms to be alerted to are excessive sleepiness or loss of appetite.

In some cases of pediatric head trauma, seizures, nausea and vomiting may occur. Severe headache may be present as well. In head trauma injuries where a skull fracture is suspected, a physician is likely to order a computed tomography (CT) scan of the skull, brain and surrounding tissue.

Contusions or bruising of the brain are another effect of pediatric head trauma. The main concern would be to reduce any swelling on the brain that may be present. If the brain swells to a large extent, this could force pressure against the wall of the skull, leading to severe complications and possibly death.

Also affecting patients with head trauma are occasional scalp lacerations and bleeding. This might require sutures to repair. The doctor might also apply a topical antibiotic ointment to the injury site. In some cases, oral antibiotics might be prescribed as well.

Other effects of pediatric head trauma may include loss of memory, confusion and long-term neurological dysfunction. Children have softer skull masses than adults, and because of this, they are more prone to serious head trauma. In very young infants and toddlers, it is often difficult to ascertain whether a serious injury has been sustained, because such a young child cannot verbally communicate her symptoms.

Children suffer many types of injuries that result in head trauma. Most commonly, sports-related injuries are to blame. Other factors such as falls or even child abuse may account for cases of pediatric head trauma. The effects can range from mild to severe. Many children who ride bicycles without the protection of a helmet are often seen in emergency rooms as a result of pediatric head trauma. Accidents that involve being struck by motor vehicles are another cause of head injuries in children.

Statistics show incidence of trauma to the head is higher in boys than in girls. Thousands of children per year are hospitalized with head injuries. This could account for the need of a pediatric trauma nurse, trauma physician and trauma therapist on call at children's hospitals.

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