Concussion in children - discharge
Your child was treated for a concussion. This is a mild brain injury that can result when the head hits an object or a moving object strikes the head. It can affect how your child's brain works for a while. It may also have made your child lose consciousness for a short time. Your child may have a bad headache.
At home, follow the health care provider's instructions on how to care for your child. Use the information below as a reminder.
Mild brain injury in children - discharge; Brain injury in children - discharge; Mild traumatic brain injury in children - discharge; Closed head injury in children - discharge; TBI in children - discharge
When Your Child was in the Hospital
If your child had a mild head injury, it's likely no treatment was needed. But be aware that the symptoms of a head injury can show up later.
The providers explained what to expect, how to manage any headaches, and how to treat any other symptoms.
What to Expect at Home
Healing from a concussion takes days to weeks or even months. Your child's condition will slowly improve.
When Your Child First Goes Home
Your child may use acetaminophen (Tylenol) for a headache. DO NOT give aspirin, ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil, Naproxen), or other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
Feed your child foods that are easy to digest. Light activity around the home is okay. Your child needs rest but does not need to stay in bed. It is very important that your child does not do anything that results in another, or similar, head injury.
Have your child avoid activities that need concentration, such as reading, homework, and complex tasks.
When you go home from the emergency room, it is OK for your child to sleep:
Returning to School
As long as your child has symptoms, your child should avoid sports, hard play at recess, being overly active, and physical education class. Ask the provider when your child can return to their normal activities.
Make sure your child's teacher, physical education teacher, coaches, and school nurse are aware of the recent injury.
Talk to teachers about helping your child catch up on school work. Also ask about timing of tests or major projects. Teachers should also understand that your child may be more tired, withdrawn, easily upset, or confused. Your child may also have a hard time with tasks that require remembering or concentrating. Your child may have mild headaches and be less tolerant of noise. If your child has symptoms in school, have your child stay home until feeling better.
Talk with teachers about:
Based on how bad the head injury was, your child may need to wait 1 to 3 months before doing the following activities. Ask your child's provider about:
Some organizations recommend that your child stay away from sports activities that could produce a similar head injury, for the rest of the season.
When to Call the Doctor
If symptoms do not go away or are not improving a lot after 2 or 3 weeks, follow-up with your child's provider.
Call the provider if your child has:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Traumatic brain injury & concussion. www.cdc.gov/traumaticbraininjury. Updated July 6, 2017. Accessed September 5, 2018.
Liebig CW, Congeni JA. Sports-related traumatic brain injury (concussion). In: Kliegman RM, Stanton BF, St. Geme JW, Schor NF, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 20th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2016:chap 688.
Papa L, Goldberg SA. Head trauma. In: Walls RM, Hockberger RS, Gausche-Hill M, eds. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 34.
Review Date: 7/29/2018
Reviewed By: Amit M. Shelat, DO, FACP, FAAN, Attending Neurologist & Assistant Professor of Clinical Neurology, Stony Brook University School of Medicine, Stony Brook, NY. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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