39 answers

Multiple Head Bumps in One Week

My very active 14 month old son (yes he is my first) is constantly on the move. He recently fell and hit his head two times last week, once yesterday, and then AGAIN tonight! I hesitate to post this - as I am feeling like the world's worst mother, however I will do anything for my son! I don't think I need to bring him in for just a couple of head bumps - but thought I would ask you guys what you would do. His bumps have been swelling, bruising and healing within a few days (I have been using Arnica gel). His behavior and/or activities have not changed from his normal routine. Thanks for any advice you may have.

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So What Happened?™

The amount of advice and support was overwhelming!. There is nothing better than the resource of other mothers who have been there before. My little guy recovered just fine and so far has been bump free for the past 24 hours - thank goodness! Thanks to everyone who took the time to respond - every e-mail was so appreciated. Thanks again!

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i know how you feel. my daughter bumped her head 3times over a 3-day weekend at 20mths. i felt horrible, i started wondering if her balance was off. then i noticed it only happened when she was very tired. the doctors said watch her eyes and if her behavior changes suddenly for a short while. they said to not to worry unless the fall (if they fell) was from higher than half their height. Hope that helps -good luck.

If I had a nickel for every head bump my very active 17-month-old son gets! That's just life, but you'll know if it's a concussion as there will be vomitting and serious head swelling... Just keep on doing what you're doing - give him a cuddle every time he falls!

If the bumps go out and aren't dents and if he isn't disoreinted, he's ok.
My son(who is now 11yrs) is affectiontely called "Bonk". For his first 5 bithdays he had a bump in the middle of his forehead. He always has some bruise or bump on his head. Thank the Lord he has a hard head!
You are not alone. Be watchful but don't stress too much!

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Since this is your first I will warn you as active as little boys are you are in for a bunch more bumps, scrapes, and bruises. :-) You are not the world's worst mother, you just have a toddler. As long as the bumps are healing properly, he is not/does not loose consciousness, display signs of dizziness, nausea, and/or seizures, he will be fine. Of course at the first sign of any of that you should take him straight to a doctor to check for concussion.

The only other advice I could give you is what my MIL (mother to four boys) gave me, "Put him in a helmet, and hold your breathe. Soon he will be coming home with broken bones and girlfriends." LOL

3 moms found this helpful

My son is barely four, and he's already cut his head open THREE times! He's been to the emergency room twice, had stitches (without anesthesia, I might add), and each time his event was unpredictable and not my fault (since I can't keep him in a bubble). On both emergency room visits, the doctors said he most likely had a concussion, but they said as long as his habits stayed the same (sleeping, talking, crying, etc.) he'd be fine. They did ask me if he cried immediately after each injury, and he did...he never lost consciousness (doesn't that just sound awful!)...and they said he was probably fine.

Of course, you don't want this to become a habit, but one or two bumps on the head, even within a week of each other, are not nearly so damaging as a single shaking event (shaken baby syndrome) because that involves numerous inner brain trauma events...not just one at a time. As long as he's still acting the same, especially 24 hours after the knot formed on his head, he should be fine.

You cannot know how much I sympathize with you!

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Yes, little boys are such a joy!! - you're not a terrible mother at all-- you are raising a lively little guy- and they do bump--- you might talk to his pediatrician or the nurse about how to separate ''needs to be seen'' from ''treat it at home'' - as a mom of 3 and special ed preschool teacher I'd say the things you are watching for:
change in behaviour
alteration in pupil size
any hint however small of losing consciousness
bleeding that might require a stich or special bandage

if none of those- treat at home-- blessings
Old Mom

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Babies fall. Try not to get yourself down over it. You can't prevent everything.

One of my kids fell pretty hard and a nurse told me some warning signs for a concussion. Check his pupils to make sure they are dilating the way they should and both are the same size. Make sure he is responsive. If he throws up afterwards, that is a big warning sign.

If he is behaving normally and back to his usual self within a short amount of time, I wouldn't stress too much. He's a kid doing what kids do.

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It looks like you got a ton of great responses here. Let me just make you feel like a GOOD Mom. My 17 month old went through a period where he: Got a black eye; Then had matching bumps on the right/left side of his head; then face planted into our hard wood floor and had a bruised nose; then, on the fourth of july got an ember in the corner of his eye and now has a little scar there!!!! I was completely freaked out that he looked abused and wouldn't let me him anywhere unless I was right behind him...but...boys and kids in general fall....
After this mass of injuries, we were leaving to go camping and I asked my husband, "Is there anything else we need for Sam?" and he said, "You mean besides a plastic bubble?"

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Hi, J.,

My almost 2-y.o. bumps his head frequently, too. And most of the time it scares me more than it hurts him--so I know what you're saying! :)

You may want to try a soft ice pack. We do this and work on counting to 10. Count to 10 with the ice pack on...Count to 10 with the ice pack off...we make a game of it and it helps a bit (but only a bit because then he's off and running!). Basically, as long as his activities are normal, and his pupils are dilating (you can check by shining a small flash light into his eyes) he's fine! :) But, if you have any reservations, bring him into the doc's--that's what their there for!!

Good luck,

1 mom found this helpful

I've learned that it helps a TON to immediately put ice (such as frozen peas) on the wound for 10 minutes (at least). That keeps it from swelling and coloring nearly as much. They hate it, of course, but you might give him a sucker to suck on while you do it, and when he wants you to stop, take the sucker away... Once in the ER with my son, the doctor was telling me to ice yada yada and I said he didn't tolerate it. He lectured me that I am the mother and it doesn't matter if he doesn't like it, I need to do it anyway (they of course don't like shots either, but need them). Also, I've learned that rubbing a little castor oil into the bruise also helps. You can find it in the pharmacy section near the laxatives, or ask behind the counter if it's not on the shelf. It really helps. I've read before to put away coffee tables and such that attract little heads, and to keep them on carpet. What I really hate is when people ask constantly "what happened?" What do they think happened? He just started walking and falls down a lot. Duh. I make a point of not asking people what happened when there's a wound on their child's face/head.

1 mom found this helpful

Try Arnica interally in 30c or 200c potency. The gel is more for sore muscles than a real injury :)
Liz Brandegee
Classical Homeopath

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Welcome to toddler-hood. :) There is a reason they are called toddlers: they still fall down and bump their heads (and every other body part too). I wouldn't worry too much about it if his behavior hasn't changed at all. Kids are more durable than we think.

My son is 4 1/2 and a few days before his first birthday he tipped over into the side of the bathtub and gave himself a black eye for his birthday. My daughter is 16 months and did something (I forget what now) but she very nearly had a black eye for *her* first birthday. They fall down, they get bruises, they get better. As hard as it is for us as parents, they usually turn out just fine.

I think until they're around 2 or so kid's legs are disproportionately shorter than the rest of their bodies. There's a reason for this: they fall down often.

Now that I've rambled enough, don't feel dumb for posting your question, every first-time parent goes through this. I sure did with my son. Go with your gut instinct, it's usually right, no matter what anyone here or in you life/neighborhood say. You are the Mom, you know what's best; go with that and you'll be wonderful.

Hope this helps,

1 mom found this helpful

I took my oldest daughter in to the ER for her first bad head bump and shouldn't have! The second time I called the pediatrician and they said it was only a problem if she threw up more than three times, had enlarged pupils, loss of appetite, or wouldn't wake up.

Arnica is good, ice is the best, and I also took her to a chiropractor and a craniosacral therapist each time to reset her neck/head. Repeated falls and bumps can create negative holding patterns that turn into headaches and many other things we experience as adults!

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The rule of thumb is if the bump dents in...take him in!!! if the bump swells and he keeps his normal actions and responses, he should be fine. Arnica is WONDERFUL.

With my boys, I felt like the most horrid of mothers. My youngest (twins) had a black eye from falling a few times around 18 months. Kids are rougher than I ever thought!! It is us who become wimps.

Keep cuddling your baby, and everything will be fine.

Good luck,

1 mom found this helpful

I have a daycare/preschool in my home now, but in the past, I used to work for a daycare chain. I always used to chuckle when I would look at the one-year-old class and see pretty much every single forehead with a purple bump on it. It's just the age, Mama. They just want to go faster than their somewhat-unstable little bodies can manage. They are also not always the best at negotiating their way around corners or stopping quickly. Make sure you know the syptoms of concussion, just in case he ever gets a really bad bonk. That's the main concern. As long as he looks and behaves normally, (and a one-year-old bumping their head on a regular basis is incredibly normal,) you have no worries! God bless you and your little son! :)

1 mom found this helpful

Hi J.,

My son was (is!) very accident prone too. By the age of 2, he'd been to the ER twice w/stitches on his forehead (the first trip was at 13 months). The second one they did the dermabond, which seems to work great. The VERY NEXT day, he did exactly the same thing (running through the living room, tripping, falling and hitting his head on the glider chair ottoman) and bumped his head right next to where he'd gotten the dermabond. He was a sight! That one only got a goose egg though. Thank goodness; can you imagine if I would have had to take him to the ER the very next day for the same thing? They probably would have taken me aside and asked me what in the heck was going on!

Anyway, I don't have any real great wise words of wisdom. I just wanted to share with you that this is common, and although it's scary when it happens, they bounce back pretty quickly. Others have given you some great tips on what signs to look for.

My son is now 6 years old, and I've gotten a little more laid back about his slips and trips and bangs and bruises! Over time you just learn to relax a little! But he is still on the go; crashing on his bike, jumping off things, etc. etc. Never a dull moment :o)

Enjoy your little man and soak up every moment you can -- they grow up so fast!!!

1 mom found this helpful

Hi J.,
My very active now 2 year old was always bumping his head and the ones that were really bad I took pictures of, but if it doesn't faze him don't worry, the skull is very strong and can handle more than just a bump here and there or many close together. If it were a really bad bump and if my son would show signs that he's being bothered by it then I would give him a little tylenol, but only if he seemed bothered, I don't want him getting immune to the effects of tylenol. But don't fret, it all just makes him stronger or more tough. I do want to add that my son can even handle getting pummled by our big great white pyrenese puppy now, and he's a big dog even though he's only 9 months.

I wouldnt worry about it too much. My daughter is 14 months old and I swear she falls at least 10 times a day. She is still very wobbly on her feet, and she is always falling. I feel like I need to follow her around to keep her from hurting herself. But she follows her 3 year old sister and tries to do everything she does. There is not much I can do about it so I just try to make sure she doesnt get hurt really bad. But she does have alot of bumps and bruises. Hope this helps.

i know how you feel. my daughter bumped her head 3times over a 3-day weekend at 20mths. i felt horrible, i started wondering if her balance was off. then i noticed it only happened when she was very tired. the doctors said watch her eyes and if her behavior changes suddenly for a short while. they said to not to worry unless the fall (if they fell) was from higher than half their height. Hope that helps -good luck.

I wouldn't feel so bad. It happened to my son too about that age. And he is still alive and breathing today. :) They will make lots of falls and get lots of hurts, it's just part of their age.
If you feel the bumps are bad enought to go to the doctor, I would wait and see if there is swelling and if it doesnt go down then go in. Or give your doctors office a call and consult with them. I know I have call my doctor's nurse several times for things.
Good luck and it's not your fault.

He's perfectly normal, and so are you. When they begin to crawl, stand, and walk, they take a lot of bumps. It sounds like he's taking them in stride. My now grown children sometimes looked like they'd been in combat -- it's a very normal way of learning how to get around it the world. Rest assured, you are not a bad mom, and your homeopathic healing care shows a thoughtful and caring parent. Give him hugs when he bumps, and when he knows that everything is ok, he'll take right off again. You're doing great, and so is he. Good luck.

Dear J.,

I went through the same thing with my daughter, 15months, she fell and hit her head on a door and then the following day she hit the other side of her head on the toilet. Both swelled and became purple and I looked like the worst mother in the world, it looked like she had horns on her forhead. We called the doctor as I was freaking out, also a first time mom, and they said to watch for being extra tired, more so than normal. We had to wake her up for a few nights in the middle of the night, about every few hours to make sure her limbs were still working and that she recognized us. I know that sounds a bit extreme, but both of our "crashes" we at night so we couldn't tell what her behavior was like during the day. Another thing they said was it was better that the bonk was swelling out and it didn't look like it was caved in, if it is caved in it is a big problem and needs to be seen ASAP. If he seems fine and isn't tired and his eyes aren't dialated, he is fine. Babies have lots of capilaries and blood vessels really close to the surface of the skin, so when they fall and get a bonk on their head, it is more magnified. Hang in there and take a deep breath. I have my pediatrician on speed dial, so I know what you are going through.


Other parents understand when they see a little guy with bumps and bruises. The thing my pediatrician said to watch for when they hit their heads hard is that there IS a bump. If you see a great big goose egg on their head after a particularly hard bump, that is good news. She told me that you want to see it bump up because that means there is no fracture underneath. Anyway, I found that helpful when my little boy was 16.5 months old and took a VERY hard fall into the corner on a wall and ended up with a *huge* goose egg on his forehead just minutes before we left for church on Mother's Day, no less. =) Enjoy your son!! They are so much fun!

Hi J.,
I'm a 38 yr old 1st time mom to my 21 mos old active son. You seem to be taking all the right precautions. I have safety proofed my house but Xander knows new places to climb and get bumps and bruises. I just try to tell him simply: Danger, owie, or hot depending on what he's doing. Sometimes I put him in timeout (we started when he was about your son's age). It helped to start early to condition him to sitting in the chair to hear mom/dad explain the situation. He doesn't get as many bruises on his head but his shins get it more these days. I've incorporated controlled climbs. Going to the park, yard, creek or piling up pillows around the couch. Hang in there. Just wait until he does a faceplant in the carpet with his nose and it bleeds-SCARY. OUCH! Take care.

Rest assured, you are NOT a bad mom! You are just the mom of an active boy. I too have one of those. My son just turned two, and he has been like that since he could crawl. Always into everything, always exploring, and always getting hurt. He doesn't even seem to learn from his mistakes and has no fear. I is normal, and will get a little better with age when he understands cause and effect better. Head injuries look worse than they are and swell a lot. They also tend to bleed a lot. Follow your insticts, and watch for warning signs of a serious head injury, but most will just heal fine. He will get less head injuries as he grows, but right now, his head is the heaviest part of his body and the first thing to hit. With my son, I made sure to put a helmet on him if he was going to be running on concrete or climbing on a play structure. That prevented some serious injuries, but that is the most you can do. You can't keep him from everything... he has to learn.

Funny you say that, I was just feeling guilty for the scrapes and bumps that my 17 month old seems to be so adept at aquiring! We use Arnica gel too - he recently had a good time going down an inflatable water slide which left his poor little back with burn marks from the seams. I felt horrible, but what do you do, not let them have fun?! I think that a toddler's life is full of experimentation for which their bodies bear the brunt. I know I'm not a neglectful mother and it doesn't sound like you are either. Take confidence in the fact that you love him and do your utmost to protect him; his bumps and bruises are par for the toddler's course.

When our kids hit their heads we immediately look at their eyes - one very dialated pupil and one undialated pupil are a sign of a concussion (this is very noticable). If their eyes are normal then we comfort them and life goes on! If it's particularly nasty fall then we watch for strange behavior the rest of the day, like dizziness, inabilitly to walk well etc. My kids have had some really bad head bonks (like on pavement) and they've never had any of these symptoms. I've only seen the dialated pupils on my cat after she ran full speed into our glass door (she was fine after hiding under the table for a while). Little boys are so tough! Lol!

Hi J.,

My daughter went through a similar period around the same age, so much so that my husband and I joked that she should wear a helmet all of the time! She eventually got better balance and now her falls and bumps and bruises are more evenly distributed over her whole body :) If he doesn't have any apparent side effects - dizziness/off balance, throwing up, excessive crying indicating possible pain or disorientation - I wouldn't worry about it too much. Arnica gel is great for speeding healing, and you might also want to give him arnica internally, and/or some rescue remedy if he has a particularly bad fall. Otherwise, sounds like you are doing just fine!


I too am a first time mom to a 15 month old boy! He is a climber, and so active. He falls constantly. Your post reminds me of how I feel. My husband keeps assuring me he is a busy boy, he takes risks and falls. He seems to recover easily, and his behavior afterward is fine. Seems like he scrapes his face, and once it heals he turns right back around and scrapes it again! I am always telling my friends about his latest fall, which almost seems daily! The pediatrician said to watch for behavior changes etc...after an accident (he told me their little heads are made for taking the falls...) It's still hard for me, but my little guy keeps looking for new adventures! My mother in-law said she was afraid my husband wouldn't live to 18. Must be a mom and son thing! Welcome to the club! Good luck!

don't worry these are not the last bumps he will get. It just means he is having fun!! No worries!!

Some kids get to an age when they just bump heads. The are either too busy to see tables that they run into or they are the wrong height. It has nothing to do with your mothering. As to the bumps. As long as the bumps swell outwards you are okay.

If you've got a boy get ready for a lot more bumps and bruises! (I have 2 boys and a somewhat clumsy girl) I have no idea what Arnica gel is but I do know the magic of a gel ice pack! We keep a ice pack in the freezer that does not freeze stiff and is always wrapped in a bandanna. It helps to dramatically reduce swelling and bruising if used right away as you are cuddling the bump away. I also have a friend who uses zip-lock bags filled with rice or beans as cold packs. (not as cold but still helps)
The higher they climb the further they have to fall but.....wow, what a view from the top!
Happy training!

My eight year old bumped his head alot when he was very young. I was very worried about him. He has had mild concussions as well because of his head bumps. He was active and just not nearly as physically adept as his older brother who almost never gets hurt.
He just couldn't seem to get his hands in front of him during a fall. And his head had a bump on one side or the other for so long it seemed.
I watched him carefully after a bump to make sure there was no changes in his behavior and consciousness. The two times he had mild concussions, the signs were obvious. Other than that I just treated it with cold compress and lots of hugs and kisses.
My son is just fine and grew out of his "clumsiness".

When my daughter was abou that age she was still very wobbly and fell head first into a wall. Huge bump right on her forehead.

The doctor said the bone on the forehead is super thick and most kids can withstand some good falls even if they look pretty bad. She also told me not to worry if my daughter was acting "normal".

If the bumps go out and aren't dents and if he isn't disoreinted, he's ok.
My son(who is now 11yrs) is affectiontely called "Bonk". For his first 5 bithdays he had a bump in the middle of his forehead. He always has some bruise or bump on his head. Thank the Lord he has a hard head!
You are not alone. Be watchful but don't stress too much!

SOunds like you are watching him closely and taking good care of him and the advice from the other mothers is right on.

I just want to let you know this is totally normal. My daughter went through a tough stage for about 4 months where she was always bumping her head. I think it's totally normal and they eventually get used to growing taller and developing their balance and realize where their bodies are in relation to other objects.

Apparently the rule of thumb is to observe them for an hour after a big bump. I think that is cos if there is any sign of concussion, it will appear in this time frame. So if it happens before naptime or bedtime, wait an hour before putting them down.
I take my kids to Whole Mamma Whole Child on NE Killingsworth and 30 something, 30th or 31st? This group of chiropractors focus on mamas and little ones. A little craniosacral therapy does wonders for little heads that got bumped. You can't really tell what they are doing, but it makes me feel better that I am doing the best to rectify being the other world's worst mother!! Craniosacral can release pent up trauma, clear heat, reset cranial bones and rhythm, reduce stress, clear the mind and little ones will let you do it cos it feels nice.
PS are you English - who else says mother?....

I know that a pound of guilt comes with each little bump, but you and your active little guy are totally normal. My 13 mo. old leads with his head everywhere he goes and ends up with bumps and bruises all the time. My husband always tells me (while I'm freaking out), that if it is a raised bump then it's fine, but if it is a dent, then worry. Otherwise give him a kiss to feel better and move on. It's a good rule to live by when raising active kids. I hope this helps. Have a great time with your little guy.

You (and your son!)have my sympathy ~ ouch! My son split open his head on a stair riser when he was learning to walk. The baby gate was in place for the stairs, but the first riser got him. He required lots and lots of stitches. My other two kids were in a double stroller at the mall. I took one of my kids out of the stroller and displaced the weight balance. The stroller tipped back and my daughter cracked her head on the cement floor. The memory of the sound of it still makes me queasy and brings tears to my eyes. No matter how careful you are, sometimes accidents will happen.

I'm a big advocate of calling your peditrician. They can tell you what to look for (vomiting, sleepiness, change in behavior)... just talking to a professional always made me feel better.

Kids heads are super strong!

I have five kids now and they all had to go through such engeries so don't worry a bout being a careless mother .my son bumps his head even while we're sitting next to him . I think all kide specially boys don't have a complete and good balance over their bodies until they're four or five.

If I had a nickel for every head bump my very active 17-month-old son gets! That's just life, but you'll know if it's a concussion as there will be vomitting and serious head swelling... Just keep on doing what you're doing - give him a cuddle every time he falls!

Little boys (or children for that matter) fall down and get bumps and bruises, we learned that quick when our son in one week got two bloody lips and chipped a tooth (at 11 months old) and he constantly comes home from daycare with scrapes and bruises from falls on the playground. They're pretty tough though and you'll be able to recognize when something is just a bump or more serious. As long as his behavior isn't changing and he's not throwing up or dizzy or anything, just give it a kiss and let him play (and fall again!!)

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