If your child recently bumped their head, you may be wondering, can you go to sleep after a concussion?
This isn’t a yes or no answer. You should always talk to your doctor if you’re worried about your child sleeping after a concussion. Resting after concussions could allow your child’s body to heal itself. However, after severe concussions your doctor may have you wake your child every two to three hours to ensure they haven’t lost consciousness.
This all sounds very scary—brain injuries are no joke—but with proper medical advice and due diligence your child should be back to normal in a few days or weeks.
Concussions in Babies
There’s a difference between a toddler bumping their noggin on the table and a toddler falling down the stairs and hitting their head. There’s also a big difference between a baby and a toddler hitting their head. While hitting your head in any form hurts, serious bumps can lead to concussions and brain damage—especially in babies.
Part of this vulnerability comes from the fact that babies are born with a soft spot, called the anterior fontanelle, on the top of their heads to allow their skulls to compress during birth. This two-inch wide, diamond-shaped depression doesn’t start to close until a baby is 6 months old—solidifying completely when they’re around 18–24 months old. During this time, it’s vital to prevent your baby from hitting their head. Even dropping a baby a foot or so onto the ground can hurt them if they hit the wrong spot.
How to Prevent a Concussion in Babies and Children
You can’t keep your kids in a bubble, but you can do a lot to prevent a serious head injury. Here are a few pieces of equipment that can help:
- Car Seats:
- Infants and kids under 12 years old should always be in some type of car seat until they’re able to sit comfortably in the back seat with the shoulder strap resting across their chest. Before then, they’ll need a rear-facing car seat, front-facing car seat, or booster seat. Read more about different types of car seats to find the safest option for your family.
- Whenever your child is on a bike or scooter they should wear a helmet. Knee, wrist, and elbow guards are also fantastic safety gear to keep them safe.
- You’ll need to buy a safe crib for your baby to sleep in to keep them safe. And as they get older, you’ll need to raise the bars so they can’t tip their crib over or crawl out. If you need help finding the best option, browse SafeWise’s top safety picks for newborns to toddlers.
- Bed Rails:
- When you switch your child from a crib to a big-kid bed, install bedrails. This will prevent them from falling out of bed while they sleep.
- Baby Gates:
- Installing baby gates and baby locks can ensure your kids don’t tumble down the stairs when you’re not looking.
Concussions are a type of brain injury that happens when the brain whips back and forth violently in the skull. Falls, bumps, shakes, hits, and jolts can all lead to concussions. Most concussions aren’t life-threatening, but some could cause permanent brain damage, temporary confusion, and brain bleeds.
Signs of a Concussion
If your child shows any of these signs after hitting their head, bring them to the emergency room or call your doctor immediately.1
- Severe headache
- Loss of consciousness
- Ringing in ears
- Stroke-like symptoms like slurred words
- Slowed reaction and response time
What to Do If You Suspect Your Child Has Suffered a Concussion
The answer to this question is drastically different depending on the age of your child. If they are older than 18 months, a bump is probably less serious than if your child is an infant.
If you see your child fall and whack their head, they could have a concussion. If they are rendered unconscious, it’s serious. Call your doctor right away or bring your child to the emergency room. Your doctor will do all the necessary neurological tests to ensure your child is safe. They may keep your child to monitor for a couple hours or overnight.
You can help reduce the risk of falls—and the concussions that sometimes accompany them—by regularly checking in on your home’s overall safety. We recommend reading through our monthly safety checklists to keep things safe and sound.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Signs and Symptoms”