- External head injuries: Usually scalp injuries that harm the surface of the head
- Internal head injuries: That deals with damage to the skull, blood vessels, cells, and nerves inside the brain.
External head injuries are more common in infants. Since it throws up visible signs and injury marks, it tends to be more frightening.
The scalp is rich in blood vessels; hence, a minor cut or abrasion can cause bleeding. Sometimes the scalp’s veins leak fluid or blood into and under the scalp. This appears as a “goose egg” or swelling on the head.
Common noticeable symptoms would include:
- Frequent complains of head and neck pain; fussiness and irritability
- Repeated vomiting and concussions in severe cases
- Does not walk or talk and is hard to console
- If the body colour doesn’t seem too normal or breathing is dragged
Internal brain injuries on the other hand, throw up less overt symptoms but can pose serious harm to an infant and can even prove to be fatal, under extreme cases.
Cerebrospinal fluid is a clear fluid found inside the brain that acts as a cushion for the brain and reduces the impact of a blow. But upon severe impact, the brain can be knocked into one side of the skull and rupture blood vessels. There can also be an injured skull bone, torn blood vessels, or brain damage.
Some symptoms of internal brain injuries are:
- Unconsciousness for more than a few seconds
- Abnormal breathing and weakness or paralysis
- Serious wound caused due to a drastic blow or fall
- Bleeding or clear fluid from the nose, ear, or mouth
- Disturbance of speech or vision
- Pupils of unequal size
- Neck pain or stiffness
- Slurred speech and blurry vision
- Feeling anxious or irritable for no apparent reason
- “Seeing stars” and feeling dazed, dizzy, or lightheaded
Once there are signs that your child may have had a brain injury, you must contact a doctor immediately. Sometimes even the most harmless injuries and inconspicuous damage can be life-threatening, unless treated properly and with caution.
Some common to-do’s to follow when an infant suffers a brain injury:
- Do not try to move your child in case he has a neck or spine injury
- Turn a child who is vomiting or having a seizure onto his or her side. This will help prevent choking and provide protection
- If there is bleeding, apply a clean or sterile bandage
- Do not apply direct pressure to the wound if there are suspicions of a skull fracture
- Childproof your household accidents; remove all objects that have sharp edges
- Make sure your child’s head is protected with appropriate headgear while travelling in an open vehicle like motorcycle
- Do not let your child exert himself or let him engage in violent physical activities after the injury
The brain is an extremely vital and sensitive organ. Any harm caused to the organ can cause both physical damage, as well as psychological and congenital damage to an infant. And hence, one must seek professional medical help as soon as you see, spot, or even suspect a head injury in their infant.