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What to Do When Your Toddler Hits Their Head

Medically reviewed by John Paul Abrina, MD · Oncology · Davao Doctors Hospital

Written by Mayvilyn Cabigao · Updated Jul 05, 2021

What to Do When Your Toddler Hits Their Head

Bumping their heads is one of the most common accidents toddlers always experience. Young children ages one to three are prone to accidents because they are still learning how to balance themselves when upright. You must be aware of toddler head bump warning signs to know whether the child’s injury is serious or not.

When to visit a doctor

toddler head bump warning signs

Most minor head injuries due to simple head bumps do not lead to something more severe. Most often, only a minor contact injury such as scalp bruise or laceration results. According to a study, in 2 to 3% of falls, only a simple linear skull fracture happens. Most of the linear skull fractures do not cause serious neurological issues. Only 1% of fractures result in epidural or subdural hemorrhage.

Although simple head knocks do not end up as severe head injuries, it is recommended for you to be alert of the signs that might show up several hours after the accident.

If these toddler head bump warning signs are currently experienced by your child, call the nearest hospital for immediate medical attention. These signs include:

  • Loss of consciousness for a few minutes or longer
  • Continuous wailing due to pain and discomfort
  • A constant headache, especially one that gets worse
  • Being very irritable, confused, or exhibiting other abnormal behavior
  • Fuzziness or complaining caused by a nagging pain in the head and neck
  • Having problems with the senses like blurry vision, persistent ringing in ears, or loss of hearing
  • Difficulty recognizing familiar faces
  • Slurred speech
  • Recurrent vomiting
  • Forgetfulness or memory loss (amnesia)
  • Numbness or weakness of arms and legs
  • Losing balance or trouble walking, stumbling
  • Bleeding on the head or blood coming out of the ears and eyes
  • Experiencing seizures
  • Difficulty in staying awake or extreme sleepiness
  • Unusual paleness that persist for more than one hour
  • Tingling sensation on one side of the body
  • Persisting or repeated dizziness

These are signs of a more serious head trauma, and they may occur within minutes or hours. Although rarely, they may also occur after days, that’s why watching your kids closely is a must.

How to treat a head bump

toddler head bump warning signs

It is best to know the basics when it comes to treating your toddler’s bumped head. Knowing first-aid when it comes to this situation will help in assuring that your child is safe and is given proper care before first responders arrive.

Here are some tips on how to treat a head bump:

Do not panic

Getting worried or even scared when your child gets hurt is normal. However, panicking is not the best action you must be showing your kid at this moment.

Try to be calm and assess the situation. Being calm will also help your child to stay calm as well.

Determine how the accident took place

If you’re not with your child when the accident happened, it is best to know how your child got hurt. Is it because your child fell, slipped, or just accidentally hit on the head while playing?

Knowing how your child got the injury will help you recognize whether your child may have hurt other parts of the body. This step will also help you determine the severity of your child’s condition.

Place a pack of ice on the injured part

Applying a cold compress on the injured area will help slow down blood flow, which helps reduce swelling and bruising. A “goose egg” lump will still show up after your toddler’s accident, but the icing will help lessen the pain.

Give pain medication

You can give your toddler some paracetamol to relieve pain. Ask your doctor about the time between each dosage. Avoid giving your toddler ibuprofen or aspirin as these medications could lead to bleeding. Never give aspirin to children, especially when they have a fever or possible viral infection as this can cause Reye’s syndrome.

Bring your toddler in the hospital if the head bump is more severe

After administering first aid at home, immediately bring your child to the emergency if you suspect that your child’s condition is much worse.

Once at the hospital, doctors and nurses will run some tests on your child to determine the gravity of the injury.

Make sure to stay with your child (if possible) at all times, to make them feel secure and safe, as well as to help them stay calm while the hospital personnel are doing some tests.

Monitor your child for one to two days after the injury

As soon as you get home from the hospital, start monitoring your child’s behavior, mood, and sleeping pattern. Observe your kid for 24 to 48 hours to see if there are toddler head bump warning signs, which might lead to serious head trauma.

Avoid stressful situations

Give your child enough time to rest and get better. Do not let your child do strenuous activities until the doctor has advised that your toddler has fully recovered.

Always be present

While your child is still recovering, make sure to stay with your toddler as they can be needier during this situation. Being present at all times when your child needs you helps them recover faster.


Here are some tips on how to child-proof your home to prevent your child from bumping their head:

  • Put corner guards on sharp furniture corners or edges. You can use foams as a soft cushion so you can let your child rough play without worrying that they might hit their head again.
  • Install safety gates up and down the stairs to prevent falls.
  • Remove rugs or carpets where your toddler might slip when running or walking.
  • Put some soft and cushioned play mats on your toddler’s play area, so that accidental falls won’t cause them to hurt their head.
  • Have your toddler wear safety gear when riding a bicycle or a scooter.
  • Never leave your child unattended, especially if they’re on the changing table or any high surfaces. If you need to leave your toddler for a while, place your child in the playpen, on the floor, or any area in your house that is not prone to accidents.
  • Always make sure that the floors in your home are not slippery.
  • Be mindful of your environment. Toddlers can be quite active and so affectionate that sometimes, they might suddenly appear behind you while you’re doing some housework. You need to be careful at all times to prevent yourself from hitting or bumping into your child accidentally.

Key Takeaways

Toddlers are often bumping their head on things because they are just getting used to being independent. Being adept at applying first aid will help you treat your child when accidents happen.

If toddler head bump warning signs are more serious than a normal knock on the head, go to the hospital immediately or call your local emergency hotline.

It is okay to be protective of your child, as it is difficult to see them get hurt. However, if they don’t fall or get hurt sometimes, they will not learn how to become stronger.

As a parent, all you need to do is to ensure that your child’s environment is safe enough for them to move freely. Being present at all times (if possible) and giving them enough love, support, and protection will help them become happy and strong individuals in the future.


Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Medically reviewed by

John Paul Abrina, MD

Oncology · Davao Doctors Hospital

Written by Mayvilyn Cabigao · Updated Jul 05, 2021

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