Head Injury - Mild

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Your child has been seen at Nationwide Children’s Hospital because of a head injury.  Although we do not think admission to the hospital is necessary at this time, there are several things we ask you to do at home.

What to Do

  • You may give your child Tylenol® _________mg up to every 4 hours for pain.
  • Apply ice to the injury 20 minutes at a time, as your child will tolerate, for the first 1 to 2 days.
  • Watch your child for signs he or she may be getting worse as described below.

Signs to Watch For

If your child has any of these symptoms, call your medical provider or return to the Emergency Department immediately.

watch your child closely

  • Repeated or projectile vomiting
  • A major change in behavior or personality (confused, impulsive, reckless, aggressive or abnormal behavior)
  • Difficulty waking up during the day or quickly falling back to sleep after awakening
  • Unable to awaken at night
  • Complaints of headache that are not relieved with Tylenol®
  • Bleeding or clear fluid from the nose or ears
  • Hearing difficulties
  • Convulsions (seizures)
  • Staggering or swaying while walking
  • Weakness or dizziness
  • Eye changes (cross-eyed, droopy eyelids, trouble using eyes)
  • Blurred or double vision
  • Loss of consciousness (child does not wake up when you touch and talk to him)
  • Your child does not "look right" to you or seems to be getting worse instead of better


The severity of the head injury determines when your child may return to contact sports or rough play.  He may not return to sports, rough play or activities that require balance (bike riding, swimming, tree climbing, etc.) until his doctor says it is okay. He also should not operate any motor vehicles, including ATVs, motorcycles, motor scooters, snowmobiles and cars, until the doctor says it is okay. A doctor, experienced in treating head injuries, should see your child.  Your child should be symptom-free, then participate in a gradual return to exercise before resuming contact activities.

To help symptoms improve, and prevent symptoms from worsening, do not let your child watch TV, play video games or spend time on the computer.  Also, your child needs to avoid text messaging and listening to loud music or music through headphones.  Encourage your child to rest and eat a light diet.

When to Call the Doctor

Please call your primary care doctor in the morning to inform him or her of this visit.  If you need a doctor for your child, call Nationwide Children's Referral and Information Line at (614) 722-KIDS.

If you have any questions, be sure to ask your doctor or nurse.

Head Injury - Mild (PDF)

HH-I-42 10/75, Revised 11/11 Copyright 1975-2011, Nationwide Children’s Hospital