Along with all the fun your kid is having on the playground or sports field, odds are he's also taking his share of knocks. We help you know when a trip to the doctor or ER is in order -- and when all that's necessary is an ice pack, some ibuprofen, and a hug (if he'll let you).
#1 - Any Damage Is Usually Temporary
A mild brain injury, or concussion, can be caused by a serious blow or a minor bonk. The damage is usually temporary, but a concussion needs medical treatment.
#2 - Watch for Warning Signs
The size of the goose egg has nothing to do with the seriousness of the injury. Instead, watch for warning signs like a bad headache, nausea and vomiting, sleepiness, sensitivity to light, an inability to concentrate, feeling foggy or dazed, or other changes to your child's usual disposition, says Michael L. Nance, M.D., director of the trauma program at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. If your child exhibits even one of these symptoms, check in with your doctor or go to the ER. "And if your child actually gets knocked out -- or has amnesia and doesn't remember events before or after the accident -- that warrants an immediate trip to the ER," he notes.
#3 - Rest the Head
It can take up to ten days for a concussion to heal, so keep your kid away from physically or mentally tiring activities -- including video games and possibly school -- so his brain can rest and recover.
#4 - Get Your Doc's Approval
Going back to sports or the playground too soon can make your child prone to getting a second, potentially more damaging, concussion. Get your doc's okay first.