How to tell if your child has a concussion

This post is part of a series that focuses on children’s and women’s health, as part of a sponsored partnership with Aurora Health Care.Does this sound familiar?Scenario 1: You’re in the other room for a quick second, preparing a snack for your child, when you hear a loud bang. It’s quiet for a few seconds, and then you hear your child wailing and crying.

Scenario 2: you’re sitting right next to your child! You’re within arms reach of saving them, and they fall off their chair and hit their head on the ground.

Or, perhaps you have kids who are active in sports, and at risk of hitting their head – hard. (Boys playing football have a 75 percent risk of concussion, for example. Girls who play soccer have a 50 percent risk.)

Not long ago, my six year old took a pretty serious tumble down a big hill. At first, he couldn’t remember his sister’s name. I completely freaked out. After a couple of minutes, he seemed to return to normal.

Cue the frantic googling of concussion symptoms.

(Don’t you sometimes wish your kids could just live in a literal bubble?)

Childhood concussions can be especially serious because the brain is still developing. So it’s really important to know the symptoms and when to call the doctor.

According to the health professionals at Aurora Health Care, you should check for physical symptoms of a concussion:

  • headache
  • nausea or vomiting
  • trouble with balance or dizziness
  • vision that’s blurred or fuzzy
  • sensitivity to light or sound
  • fatigue

Also check for cognitive symptoms of a concussion:

  • difficulty thinking or remembering
  • mood shifts
  • irritability
  • constant crying or inconsolability
  • Sleeping more or less than usual

Seek help immediately if your child:

  • Loses consciousness for more than 30 seconds
  • Has a headache that gets worse and does not go away
  • Can’t recognize people or places
  • Is weak or numb
  • Has decreased coordination
  • Vomits repeatedly
  • Slurs speech
  • Is extremely drowsy or cannot be awakened
  • Has one pupil that is larger than the other
  • Has convulsions or a seizure
  • Is increasingly confused, restless or agitated
  • Exhibits unusual behavior

If your child does have a concussion, they need to recover by:

  • resting physically (limited physical activity, a lot of sleep)
  • resting cognitively (shortened school days, more time on tests, etc.)
  • limited time with electronics

Do you have any other questions about concussions? Has your child ever had a concussion? Leave a comment below!

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