Recognizing Concussion Symptoms in Children: A Guide for Parents

Concussions are a common concern for parents of active children, whether they’re participating in sports, playing on the playground, or simply being adventurous. As parents, it’s crucial to be aware of the signs and symptoms of concussions to ensure timely and appropriate care for your child.

Common symptoms include:

Headache: One of the most common symptoms of a concussion is a headache. If your child complains of a headache that persists or worsens after a bump or jolt to the head or body, it’s essential to take this symptom seriously.

Nausea and vomiting: Concussions can also cause nausea and vomiting in children. If your child feels sick to their stomach or vomits following a head injury, it may indicate a concussion.

Dizziness or balance problems: Another symptom to watch out for is dizziness or balance problems. Your child may have difficulty walking or standing straight after a head injury, which could be a sign of a concussion.

Sensitivity to light or noise: Children with concussions may become sensitive to light or noise. They may prefer to stay in a dark, quiet room and may find loud noises or bright lights bothersome.

Changes in behavior or mood: Concussions can also affect a child’s behavior and mood. Watch out for signs of irritability, sadness, or mood swings, as well as changes in their typical behavior patterns.

Difficulty concentrating or remembering: Cognitive symptoms, such as difficulty concentrating or remembering things, are common in children with concussions. Your child may have trouble focusing on tasks or may forget things that they would normally remember.

Fatigue or drowsiness: Experiencing fatigue or drowsiness can be another indicator of a concussion. Your child may seem more tired than usual or may have trouble staying awake after a head injury.

Changes in sleep patterns: Pay attention to any changes in your child’s sleep patterns following a head injury. They may have trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or may sleep more than usual.

If you notice any of these symptoms in your child after a bump to the head or body, it’s essential to seek medical attention promptly at Riverside’s emergency department. Even if the symptoms seem mild, it’s better to err on the side of caution and have your child evaluated by a healthcare professional.