Concussion in children

Concussion in children is caused by trauma or blow to the head that results in a rapid and violent movement from front to back, causing the brain to hit the skull.

Symptoms of concussion

The symptoms of a concussion they can be subtle and not manifest until 24 or 48 hours after the injury. Their recognition is complicated in infants and young children because they can not describe how they feel exactly.

Some signs that indicate signs of shock They are the following:

  • Balance or coordination problemsUnstable walking or presenting difficulties to perform simple tasks such as playing with a ball.
  • Look slightly confused or stunned.
  • Difficulty remembering the nearest future.
  • Lack of energy.
  • Look sad or more sensitive than usual.
  • Present signs of anxiety or irritation without an apparent cause.
  • Difficulty getting to sleep.
  • Sleep a lot or too little.
  • Loss of appetite
  • Excessive crying
  • Loss of interest in your favorite activities.

Read more: How to interpret the cry of a baby?

If your child has suffered a fall and suspects that a concussion may have occurred, but has no symptoms, it is possible that it is a slight injury and do not need treatment or medical evaluation.

If you observe any of the symptoms mentioned above with the passing of the hours, go to your primary care doctor or the emergency department to determine if it is necessary to apply treatment or perform analyzes to clarify the cause of the discomfort.

You must take your child immediately to the doctor or call the emergency service in the following cases:

  • Repeated vomiting.
  • It has convulsions.
  • Get dizzy or loses balance very clearly.
  • It refers intense headache.
  • Does not wake up.
  • Lose the knowledge
  • It presents confusion and does not recognize family members.
  • He babbles and speaks with difficulty (in case of being a child who already speaks fluent).
  • It presents alterations of the sight: dilated pupils, blurred vision (it does not recognize objects).
  • Bruises and large bumps in the head, presence of swelling and burning (especially in babies).

Read more: What to do if my baby has hit his head?

Diagnosis of concussion

It is very important that in case of any doubt we consult the doctor, because a concussion diagnosed in time and properly treated will not cause any harm future for the child's health.

However, if you do not pay attention to the symptoms that the child refers and do not act in time, the concussion can lead to brain damage, with fatal consequences for motor function and cognitive and sensory development.

To diagnose this injury the doctor will perform a thorough evaluation of the functioning of the child's nervous system: tests of balance, coordination and reflexes.

Further, may require diagnostic imaging (CT scan, magnetic resonance imaging) to determine the degree of involvement of the brain and adjacent structures.


The treatment will depend on the severity of the injury and the particular characteristics of the child. If the doctor does not guide the minor's hospitalization, he or she will probably recommend follow a series of home care:

  • Repose. Suspend any activity that involves physical exertion during the time indicated by the doctor and while the child reports symptoms to avoid another trauma and not lengthen the recovery period.
  • Avoid any kind of cognitive activity: it is recommended that the child miss school or daycare while presenting symptoms, so that they do not get worse.
  • Gradual incorporation to everyday activities.
  • Ingest large amount of liquid and avoid excessively fatty or unhealthy foods.

It is important to be aware of any changes that the child presents in the 48 hours following the injury. If it worsens or returns to refer any symptoms, go back to your doctor.

Post-concussion syndrome

Most children recover completely with the right treatment after a concussion. However, in some cases, they may suffer post-concussion syndrome.

This syndrome is characterized by the manifestation of the symptoms of this injury once the expected recovery time has passed.

The causes why the symptoms extend over time in some people are unclear. Usually, It does not depend on the severity of the trauma. The incidence of symptoms could be related to having suffered concussions recently or repeatedly.