What is Head Trauma?

Head injuries are one of the most common causes of disability and death in children. The injury can be as mild as a bump, bruise (contusion), or cut on the head, or can be moderate to severe in nature due to a concussion, deep cut or open wound, fractured skull bone(s), or from internal bleeding and damage to the brain. The CDC estimates that traumatic brain injury results in almost half a million (473,947) emergency department visits in children up to 14 years of age. A head injury is a broad term that describes a vast array of injuries that occur to the scalp, skull, brain, and underlying tissue and blood vessels in the child's head. Head injuries are also commonly referred to as brain injury, or traumatic brain injury (TBI), depending on the extent of the head trauma.
  • A hematoma is a collection, or clotting, of blood outside the blood vessels. It can be very serious if a hematoma occurs in the brain.
  • A hemorrhage is uncontrolled bleeding. There can be bleeding in the space around your brain.
  • A concussion occurs when the impact on the head is severe enough to cause brain injury. It's thought to be the result of the brain hitting against the hard walls of your skull or the forces of sudden acceleration and deceleration
  • Skull fracture : A broken skull is unable to absorb the impact of a blow, making it more likely that there'll also be damage to your brain

How to prevent Head Trauma?

    Lock doors to all dangerous areas. Keep keys out of child's sight and reach.

    Children should not have access to fridges, freezers, washers and dryers, because they can get be injured, or locked inside and possibly suffocate.

    Use care and provided restraints when using equipment such as high chairs and changing tables, and never, ever leave a child unattended on them. High chairs must have proper straps so children don't slip down and get their necks caught on the strap.

    Use sliding gates at both ends of stairways. Avoid accordion-style gates, because a child's head could get caught in the gate (look for gates with openings no bigger than 5.8 cm or 2.3 inches).

    Keep stairs free from toys, clothing and clutter.

    Use baluster (stairway spindles) netting to prevent small children from fitting their head between the spindles.

    Train children to hold onto handrails, and to walk carefully down each step, one at a time.

What Is Shaken Baby Syndrome?

Shaken baby syndrome is a serious brain injury caused by forcefully and violently shaking a baby. Other names for this condition include abusive head trauma, shaken impact syndrome, and whiplash shake syndrome. Shaken baby syndrome is a form of child abuse that causes severe brain damage. It can result from as little as five seconds of shaking.

Babies have soft brains and weak neck muscles. They also have delicate blood vessels. Shaking a baby or young child can cause their brain to repeatedly hit the inside of the skull. This impact can trigger bruising in the brain, bleeding in the brain, and brain swelling. Other injuries may include broken bones as well as damage to the baby's eyes, spine, and neck.

Shaken baby syndrome is more common in children under age 2, but it can affect children up to age 5. Most cases of shaken baby syndrome occur among infants that are 6 to 8 weeks old, which is when babies tend to cry the most.

Playful interaction with an infant, such as bouncing the baby on the lap or tossing the baby up in the air, won't cause the injuries associated with shaken baby syndrome. Instead, these injuries often happen when someone shakes the baby out of frustration or anger.

You should never shake a baby under any circumstances. Shaking a baby is a serious and deliberate form of abuse. Call 911 right away if you believe that your baby or another baby is a victim of shaken baby syndrome. This is a life-threatening condition that requires immediate medical treatment.