Brain injuries are categorized as mild, moderate, or severe, but make no mistake—there is no such thing as a minor medical issue when a brain injury is involved. Any time a child is exhibiting symptoms of a brain injury, it is a medical emergency and should be treated as such.
As a parent, it is important to familiarize yourself with the signs of brain injury in a child. If your child suffers a serious fall or blow to the head and you notice any of the symptoms discussed in this article, or your child seems to be acting unusually or out of character, seek medical care immediately.
If your child’s brain injury resulted from another person’s negligent, wrongful, or reckless actions, we may be able to help. Our attorneys have been recovering compensation for those who were wrongfully injured for more than four decades. We offer free consultations so that you have an opportunity to sit down and discuss your legal options with one of our knowledgeable and compassionate attorneys.
How Common Are Brain Injuries in Children?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that an average of 62,000 children between the ages of 0 and 19 are hospitalized due to brain injuries annually. Emergency departments treat another 564,000 children for brain injuries. Some of the most common causes of brain injury in children include:
Brain injuries can also be fatal. Annually, brain injuries kill 2,685 children between the ages of 0 and 14. The sudden and unimaginable loss of a young child can feel like too much to bear, especially when financial damages like unexpected funeral and burial costs interfere with the grieving process. While we know nothing can undo the harm of losing a child, we also understand that easing financial burdens through a wrongful death lawsuit often allows our clients to better proceed through their grief.
Signs of a Brain Injury in a Child
Signs of a brain injury often manifest differently in young children than adults. Small children are often unable to effectively communicate headaches, confusion, sensory issues, and other symptoms with their caregivers. Instead, children may exhibit the following signs of a brain injury:
- A change in their eating habits
- Unusual irritability
- Continuous crying or an inability to be consoled
- Drowsiness or a change in sleeping patterns
- Loss of interest in favorite activities or toys
- Clear fluid or blood draining from the nose or ears
- Pale or pallid color
The above signs may be accompanied by a brief loss of consciousness after the initial strike. However, not every brain injury victim blacks out at the time of their injury. Never try to explain away any of these symptoms just because you did not witness your child lose consciousness.
Older children and teens who can communicate their needs may report the following symptoms:
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
- Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
- Sensitivity to light and noise
- Concentration or memory problems
- Nausea and vomiting
- Slurred speech
- Weakness in just one side of the body
- Trouble walking or coordination issues
When To Take Your Child to a Doctor
If your child suffered a significant blow to the head, begins exhibiting any of the above symptoms, or starts displaying any other concerning signs of injury, call 911 right away. If you have been advised to monitor your child’s condition at home, do not hesitate to proceed directly to the emergency room if you believe your child’s condition is worsening or if they have a seizure, trouble breathing, or develop additional symptoms.
You are your child’s best advocate. Be persistent and push for additional testing if necessary, including CT or MRI scans. Promptly seek a second opinion if a doctor discharges your child from the ER without performing a thorough examination, providing a diagnosis, or creating a course of treatment.
How Are Brain Injuries Treated?
Treatment for brain injuries is highly contingent upon the severity of an individual’s injury. The treatment plan might consist of pain killers and plenty of rest in mild cases. Children and teens with mild brain injuries may need to take time off from daycare or school to rest and avoid anything that might trigger their symptoms or cause further injury. Your child’s doctor will tell you when it is safe for them to return to school and extracurricular activities, including sports.
In more severe cases, hospitalization along with the following treatments may be necessary:
- Anti-seizure drugs
- Coma-inducing drugs
Children and teens who have suffered severe brain injuries typically require rehabilitative services. Rehabilitation often begins while a patient is still in the hospital, and may need to be transitioned to outpatient services upon discharge, including:
- Occupational therapy
- Physical therapy
- Speech and language therapy
The cost of medical care in Philadelphia, PA is not cheap, and families often take on a significant amount of medical debt when caring for their children who have suffered brain injuries. If your child’s brain injury resulted from another person’s negligent or reckless actions, you may be able to recover compensation for their medical bills, pain and suffering, and more.
How To Prevent Head Injuries in Children
While it is impossible to eliminate every risk our children face, parents can take measured steps to minimize the risk of suffering a head injury. Shrager & Sachs recommends taking the following preventative measures:
- Always have your child wear a helmet when riding a bike, scooter, or skateboard.
- When riding in a car, have your child remain rear-facing until they are two years of age. Never put a car seat in the front seat of a vehicle, and keep children in the backseat until they turn 13, as recommended by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.
- Use baby gates at the bottom and top of all stairs. Teach young children how to safely navigate stairs.
- Enroll your child in non-contact sports like cross country, swimming, or tennis. Only allow your child to participate in a contact sport if they have been cleared by their pediatrician.
Is Your Child Owed Compensation?
Few things in life are more terrifying than recognizing the signs of a brain injury in your child. Your first step should always be to secure them proper medical care. Depending on how your child was injured, your next step may be to contact an attorney.
Whether your child was involved in a car accident, fell on another person’s property, or was otherwise injured through no fault of their own, the attorneys at Shrager & Sachs are prepared to advocate on their behalf. As your legal counsel, we will thoroughly investigate the accident that caused their injury, establish liability, and file a claim on your behalf. We will pursue full and fair compensation for your family.
Pennsylvania law generally only allows for two years to bring a personal injury claim, but the statute of limitations does not take effect for minors until they turn 18. Waiting until they turn 18 to file a lawsuit means missing out on essential compensation now, so do not delay—contact our law office today to schedule your no-cost, confidential case evaluation.