The symptoms of an internal head injury

It can be hard for parents to spot an internal head injury. You know your child had an accident, but there's not all that much exterior damage. Your child is too young to identify symptoms or tell you about them. What should you look for?

The brain does have some cushioning thanks to the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) that surrounds it. However, this is not always enough to stop internal injuries, even when exterior damage is limited. For instance, perhaps your child was wearing a bike helmet and so there are no lacerations, but the brain still moved violently within the skull at the moment of impact. Major symptoms of an internal injury include:

-- Seizures, even those that occur relatively long after the incident.

-- Losing consciousness, even for just 30 seconds or so.

-- Issues with vision or speech. The child may seem disoriented or confused.

-- Issues with abnormal breathing.

-- Blood or other fluid coming out of the mouth, ear or nose.

-- Pupils that do not dilate properly. For example, one could be larger than the other.

-- Stiffness and neck pain. If the child can't tell you about the pain, it may still be obvious when he or she moves.

-- General weakness. In the worst cases, this could even result in paralysis, which could be temporary or permanent, depending on the injury.

If your child has suffered a brain injury due to someone else's negligence, you may be able to seek compensation. After all, medical care can be expensive and some brain injuries can impact a child for life.

Source: KidsHealth from Nemours, "Head Injuries," accessed March 24, 2017

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