When Is a Head Injury Cause for Worry?
Minor blunt head trauma occurs commonly in infants (children younger than two years of age), resulting in approximately 1,600 emergency department visits and 4 deaths per 100,000 Americans in this age group. The vast majority of these injuries arise from falls and motor vehicle collisions. If your infant was involved in one of these accidents, here’s what you should know.
Unlike adults, clinical assessment of brain injury for infants is more difficult to ascertain. While most minor blunt head trauma injuries are not typically associated with brain injury or long-term sequelae, clinical assessment and evaluation is important. Traumatic brain injury (TBI) can affect a child’s development and future prospects. To figure out whether your child is at risk, look for these common symptoms of minor blunt head trauma:
- Altered mental status
- Loss of consciousness
- Abnormal behavior
- Scalp hematoma
In infants with minor blunt head trauma, the presence and severity of symptoms can help stratify a patient’s risk of clinically important TBI as high, intermediate, or low.
Depending on your child’s risk, you may want to discuss whether a CT scan of their head is an appropriate risk. This decision must balance the importance of identifying TBI with the possibility of late-onset malignancy associated with potential radiation exposure. The risk of missing such an injury is immediate and potentially significant, whereas the risk of radiation injury is much lower. In cases involving infants with a clinical concern for abusive head trauma, neuroimaging is typically warranted.
Timely diagnosis with prompt and appropriate referral to neurosurgery is of utmost importance in treating minor blunt head trauma. Missing such an injury may result in consequences ranging from mild learning disabilities to severe cognitive or physical abnormalities and death.
Was your infant injured in an accident? Our lawyers can help you understand your rights in a free consultation: Call us at (888) 211-5798 to schedule yours.