I’m a doctor and here’s the 6 hidden signs your toddler has a serious head injury

MOST head injuries are not serious – but they can be hard to spot in younger children.

Toddlers can sometimes find it difficult to tell parents what they want or need – making it hard to know when something is wrong.


One doctor has revealed the six hidden signs you must look out for if you're worried that your child has a head injury.

Posting to TikTok, Dr Carole Keim, also know as 'Doctor at your door', said there are some instances a child will need emergency care and that if you're worried you should always see your doctor.

Key signs are:

  1. Vomiting
  2. Change in personality
  3. Signs of stroke
  4. Severe headache
  5. Skull feels 'crunchy'
  6. Passing out and waking up again

Dr Keim explained: "For a toddler, signs that they have had a serious head injury would be if they vomit two or more times.

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"If they have a distinctive change of personality so they are acting really differently from themselves.

"If they have signs sort of like a stroke, if they are limping, or they are slurring their speech and one side of their body is moving differently from the other that could be a sign of a serious head injury."

Dr Keim added that if your child has a severe headache, that doesn't go away with Tylenol or ibuprofen then that could be a sign.

She added that there are also external signs you need to look out for.

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"If you feel their skull and it feels crunchy, kind of like rice crispies, under the skin, then that is a sign of a skull fracture."

However, she added that in some instances it is normal for toddler's to have a lump or a welt, but that you should feel it and feel around it to make sure there is no crunchiness.

Another sign, she said, was if your toddler has altered mental status.

"If they are acting really out of it, or if they pass out and wake up and then pass out again.

"That is a really big red flag and you should rush them to the ER".

She added though, that outside of these signs, it's likely to be fine.

If the head injury isn't serious, then there are some things you can do to treat it at home.

The NHS says that you should hold an ice pack (or a bag of frozen peas in a tea towel) to the area regularly for short periods in the first few days to bring down any swelling.

You should also rest and try to avoid stress and take ibuprofen or paracetamol to relief the pain or headache.

You should also make sure you stay with your child for the first 24 hours after they've hurt their head.

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It's key that you don't send your child back to school too soon and you need to wait until they feel better before doing so.

The NHS states that children should avoid rough play for a few days after hurting their head.

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