Signs of a Concussion in a Toddler


Infants and toddlers love to explore the unknown which puts them more at risk of getting hurt and suffering a serious injury. The reality is, these small children are still grasping the concept of safety and often cannot distinguish between what is safe and what is not. It is for this reason that parents and caregivers must ensure they are only exposing children to hazard-free environments and are monitoring them to prevent any type of accident from happening.

Despite how careful a parent might be, the truth is, not all accidents can be prevented. Car crashes are happening all around us on account of driver error and children aren’t always being supervised as they should by school staff or the caregivers they are left with during the day. Sadly, many children suffer head injuries in auto crashes and while under the care of a daycare or VPK center employee.

When a small child such as an infant or toddler hits their head, it can be difficult for a parent to decipher when the injury is mild or severe.

If your child was involved in an accident while at daycare or VPK or they were involved in a car collision and you think they may have suffered a concussion, it is best you have them checked out by a qualified medical professional who can determine if they suffered a head injury and how serious it is. To give you an idea of what a concussion might look like, here are a few signs and symptoms that are often displayed by a small child who has suffered a head injury.

  • The child complains of a headache or rubs his/her head.
  • They are nauseous or vomiting.
  • They aren’t able to walk steadily, they lose their balance easily, or are experiencing poor coordination.
  • They have lost the ability to carry out newly learned skills such as using the bathroom (i.e. toilet training).
  • They are cranky, irritable, and/or are difficult to console.
  • They tire out easily or are restless.
  • They are having difficulty seeing.
  • They are sensitive to light and/or noise.
  • You notice changes in their eating or sleeping patterns.

[Source: CanChild, a research center of McMaster University].

Important: CanChild research center says that “one of the most obvious symptoms of a concussion in infants and toddlers is a loss of balance, especially if [it is coupled with] nausea or vomiting.”

CanChild research center also explains that if any of the following symptoms listed down below develop, you should take your child to the nearest emergency room so a medical professional can evaluate them and render any care they might need.

  • They have large bumps, bruises, or unexplained swelling on their head.
  • Increased drowsiness or cannot be awakened.
  • Headaches that worsen or neck pain. If you have an infant, they might rub their head or neck continuously.
  • Persistent vomiting.
  • Blood or fluid in their ear.
  • Their pupils are unequal.
  • They are having seizures.

Important: While these symptoms are most often associated with a concussion, they are not meant to serve as medical advice or assist you with diagnosing your child. Only a licensed physician is qualified to provide you with a diagnosis for your child and you should seek medical attention if you suspect your child has suffered any type of head injury.

How to prevent a small child from suffering a concussion

If your child suffered a concussion, it is important that you take all precautionary measures to ensure they don’t bump their head again. “A second concussion while the brain is healing can be very dangerous” as “there is a risk of brain damage, and in rare cases, death.” Some of the things you can do to help prevent another injury include:

  1. Do not let your child:
  • Play on riding toys, scooters, or bicycles. Children such as toddlers and infants still struggle with balance and these types of toys put them more at risk of losing their balance and falling.
  • Participate in games that use balls (i.e. kickball, soccer, etc.).
  • Run, wrestle, or climb.
  • Play on the playground.
  • Watch a lot of television.
  1. Only allow your child to play where it is safe for them and where they can be adequately supervised by an adult.
  2. Never leave your child unattended on a high surface.
  3. Always use an approved infant/toddler car seat that is appropriate for their size and weight.
  4. Toddlers should only participate in age-appropriate sport activities.
  5. Ensure your home is safe. You can do this by:
  • Keeping the floors free from clutter.
  • Blocking off stairways.
  • Using safety products such as a safety gate that help prevent a child from entering a potentially dangerous area.

[Source: CanChild].

If your child suffered a concussion after engaging in a car accident in San Diego, CA or fell as a result of being unsupervised at daycare or school, contact The Law Offices of Bruce S. Meth to speak with a San Diego, CA personal injury lawyer in your area. You may be entitled to recover compensation on your child’s behalf that can help you afford medical costs, medical equipment, therapy, and more.

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