Now that spring is here, soccer, lacrosse and baseball seasons have started, and for the toddler crowd, playgrounds are the place to be! There is an abundance of information about concussions in school age kids and teenagers, but we don’t hear much about toddlers. What happens when your three year old falls off the slide? Or when your 18 month old relatively new walker bumps his head into the coffee table?
There’s scant data about concussions in preschool kids for a number of reasons. Concussion symptoms are vague and can be difficult to verbalize. Since testing is largely based on symptom scales, it is often close to impossible to use current tests for younger pediatric patients. Some parents have noticed personality changes or alterations in sleep patterns, but no more definitive data is available. Though toddlers also don’t engage in contact sports, they do experience a higher number of minor head injuries relative to most ages due to developing coordination. That said, given the often minor mechanism of injury (falling from standing on the floor, walking into furniture), the risk of serious injury is usually small.
So what are some concerning signs or symptoms that should prompt a call to the doctor or visit to the ER?
On some occasions, a trip to the emergency department might be necessary. Because of the risk of radiation associated with CT scans, observation for a 6 hour period is an option that some physicians may choose. If everything seems fine after 6 hours, a CT scan might not even be needed.
Ultimately, prevention goes a long way towards keeping kids safe. Baby and toddler proofing your home can help you avoid all kinds of fun ER adventures!