20 answers

Toddler Hit Head

My 13 month old took a fall this weekend when he slipped on some water. He fell back and was crying for about 5-10 minutes. He then vomited a little but seemed fine afterwards. His eyes were fine and he went back to playing with his usual energy level. He was fussy going to bed and we wound up letting him sleep with us because he wouldn't stay asleep in his crib. Since then he has been "grumpier" than usual but this is sporadically throughout the day. He has been "funny" about eating, not eating as much and just wants to nurse (I had been nursing only once at night and once in the morning). Every time he falls, I jump (he fell backwards on the driveway today, knocked over by another child). Each website I look at has left me with a different feeling of the possible severity of his fall. Now I am feeling horrible about our decision to not call the doctor, and my husband thinks I am overly concerned. Any suggestions on what I should look for next time? Or how to calm myself down with falls? Luckily we have an appointment today for a weight check, so I will talk to the doctor then.

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thanks for all the advice. The doctor wasn't concerned at all about the fall. She said as long as he didn't vomit repeatedly and wasn't unconscious at all I shouldn't be concerned. She said he didn't fall a big distance (only off his own two feet) and kids fall all the time. He seems fine, as active as ever. Regardless of what she suggested, I WILL be calling if it happens again for peace of mind.

Featured Answers

When anyone hits their head, they need to be watched very closely for two weeks. If everything seems normal, then you probably dont need to worry, but if you notice changes in personality, forgetfulness, clumsiness, etc, you should go to the doctor just to be on the safe side. It could be signs of something serious.

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Hi K.,

You know there is nothing like "mother's intuition" or just giving yourself piece of mind. So if you are worried and keep being worried about it, then go the doctor. Best case, it is a false alarm and you pay the co-pay, big deal. I have realized that most times I take my 13 month old boy to the doctor it is for my piece of mind more than his health. :) Hang in there, hope the check up went well today.


Okay - I am not doing this to scare you, but I am going to share my son's story from when he was 9 mo old.

We picked him up from the babysitter one night and he was not acting completely normal and then he threw up. The next day he was sick on and off, but I could tell he was just not right. I was afraid he would get dehydrated so I took him to the hospital. They sent me home and told me pedialyte would help.

The next day I followed up with his pediatrician. Still they told me he was fine.

He had no bump on his head, no bruise.

Long story short, we knew he was not acting right. He just wanted to snuggle on my lap. We took him to the hospital again. My husband demanded we do some tests because you have a feeling when something is wrong.

A CT scan showed he had a fractured skull and it severed an artery and was bleeding into his brain. They airlifted him to another hospital where he had a skull sugery to remove the blood. They told us if he comes out of this alive, he may never walk or talk.

Then the next day spinal fluid gathered in the space the blood was in and they had to repeat the sugery.

This was the scariest time of my entire life.

I am happy to report that he is a very smart, fun loving 5 year old now, but if you feel something is not right - FOLLOW YOUR GUT! I feel like God gave parents a gift for feeling when something is not right.

I don't want to scare you, but if we had gone another day, Nicholas would probably not be here today. And the injury was just from him beginning to cruise and hit his head "just right" or maybe just wrong.

Good luck!

My advice is this - I am not a doctor, nor do I allow my husband to decide if he is one if my daughter falls, bangs her head, or whatever. Vomiting is not a normal thing, and neither is a drastic change in behavior, eating habits or attitude. We will pay the copay because at least I know it is better than stewing over it or wondering. Go to the doctor. That is what they are there for and unless you are a doctor - they are your best choice for really making sure your son is okay.
Good luck.

It sounds like your child is doing ok, but vomiting after a blow to the head is a sign of a concussion. If it seems he's not remembering things well or his appetite is still bad, you should take him to the doctor.

My son fell from a 7ft. slide ladder when he was 18 months old while at a park at daycare. Luckily I had just gotten there and took him right to emergency. What I learned has come in handy a few more times with all my boys. Vomiting and unconciousness is bad. Swelling is good, a dent or no bump from a serious hit is bad and my child should be seen immediately. These few suggestions from the emergency room nurse have been my guideline through the years and have always helped us decide when and if to see a doctor. It's just my opinion but I would take your son in right away even though it was a few days ago.

I agree with Brookelyn. Our first never fell, it seemed. Our second is one permanent bruise that moves around his head. Vomiting is always serious, as is changes in personality, etc. I call our doctor all the time with this second guy. Our answers have ranged from keep an eye on him to bring him in right now. The one thing in common is always to come in immediately if there is vomiting or personality change. Thankfully we haven't had to do that. I wouldn't beat myself up about it. It's hard to know, and my second one is almost two, and I've only called the last few times. He had many hard falls that probably should have been checked out before that. It took me a lot to start calling. There are some kids who just have that tendency. I'd check with your doctor today and see if he can give you some guidelines to know when he's like you to call or come in. The reality is, there isn't a whole lot you can do other than ice for a concussion unless it's very serious, so you're in about the same boat as you would have been had you taken him in. Hope he returns to normal soon!

Sounds like a concussion or even a skull fracture. You really can't be too careful with blows to the head, especially when there is vomiting. ASK THE DOCTOR FOR AN X-RAY! You never can tell how long head injuries can last. Please keep us informed.

I always look to see if they get a bump on their head. If they get a bump it must come out and not go in. If they have a bump that swells up they are fine, but if they don't there could be a sign of concussion and concern to talk to the doctor. You checked out his eyes and his energy was fine so I think you did a good job. Just chat with your Dr. and see what they say. You're doing great!

When anyone hits their head, they need to be watched very closely for two weeks. If everything seems normal, then you probably dont need to worry, but if you notice changes in personality, forgetfulness, clumsiness, etc, you should go to the doctor just to be on the safe side. It could be signs of something serious.

Unfortunately, with falls involving the head hitting a hard surface, especially that result in vomiting, you should call the doctor. The vomiting is a sign that your child may have a concussion. You should always call your doctor in such instances. If the child went unconscious for several seconds or is vomiting, call. Please. I'm a 911 operator and have taken too many calls from mothers who didn't take that sign seriously enough.

As for other falls, it's a part of life. As long as he's not bleeding or any of his bones look out of place, kiss the booboo and send him on his way. Don't make such a big deal out of it, or else he will, too.


Go to the doctor. Now.


Anytime a child vomits after falling and hitting their head hard, you should be on the way to an emergency room. Vomiting can be a sign of a concussion at best or a more serious skull fracture, only the doctor is qualified to determine which it is. Go to the bookstore and invest in a really good Child Medical book. Make sure it has clearly stated steps on how to determine if your child has a medical condition which is an emergency or not. Parent's Magazine used to have a good one but I'm not sure if it is still in print. The big thing is to look through it and make sure the book is easy to use during an emergency : ).

I know how it feel to have this happen,my tree month old fell out of his stroller right on his face. my boyfriends fourteen year old sister was babysitting and didn't even call. i found out when i got home from work. James had a swollen nose and fat lip. Luckly when he fell he hit his dads shoe. The first thing i did was call the public health nurse and asked what to watch for. I did notice some personality changes but he was eating and sleeping fine. the next day i called the doctor just to be sure. i didn't take him to the doctor, but my insticts told me that he was ok. My best advice is to call and find out what to look for, and then follow your instincts.

If I were you, I would take him into the doctor even now. Anytime there is vomiting after a fall, it is pretty serious. Don't beat yourself up for not taking him in - what's done is done and you can't change it. Kids are very resiliant and I'm sure he is fine, but for future reference, if they take a big knock to the head and don't seem like themselves, you should probably have them checked for concussion or other head injury.

I am going to tell you something really strange most people have never heard of before. I met a woman who is a healer. she has many stories to tell of children who have fallen and hit their head. Their personalities change. They become moody, irratable, sometimes mean, and angry. She has a special table she lays the patient on and retimes their brains. Many times the children are healed in three visits. My son was one of these. He fell down our stairs several times as a small child. when he was in the 3 grade he should have been reading pretty good, but he wouldn't read outside of class. When he was 13, I took him to the healer. After 4 visits, he was healed. He picked up books and was reading like nothing was ever wrong. Anyone with a head injury will benefit.

Boys are known for head banging. But i would suggeat to trust your mothes intuition. Men always think that we hover too much and we scare to eaisily. Well guess what?? Who would have to take care of it if there was anything wrong. On a lighter note if you have time and can get the dr to check him out you should. If not then there is this ask a nurse line. ###-###-#### or you could call your clinic and talk to the on call dr. Because i know that as a mother of 4 two girls and 2 boys that most things happen after hours. I have a son that is slightly autistic and working with him when he gets hurt scares us to death. I call that # alot to just reassure myself and feel like i have everything covered.
This is just one of many incidents to look foward to.

I read your follow up post. Glad that he's OK, and just wanted to add one bit of advice: trust your instincts. My pediatrician has always said to trust your feelings. As a mom you know your child and pick up on little clues. So NEVER feel hesitant about calling the doctor if you're worried. If your doctor makes you feel embarassed or like you shouldn't have brought him in over 'trivial' things, you may want to find a new doc. You never know when you might pick up on something that could save his life.

I would have called the doctor. I call all the time but all the beter for it. My daughter's eye was puffed up and closed two mornings after she was pocked or had a bug bite. Turns out (after going to doctor) she had an infection.It may have been okay but what if it infected the eye. sounds like he hada concouscion. there could have even been hermeraging since he hrew up. that is never a good sign. the bleeding/bruising could cause emotional changes or short term memory loss depending on what part of the brain was hit.

Please inform your husband that ANY trauma to the head that is followed by vomiting is a HUGE concern and the child needs to be seen by a doctor. My oldest (now 4) fell down a flight of stairs at 9 months. He did not have any vomiting, or anything but we did take him to the ER for an exam, they checked him, claimed he was ok, well a week later we found a skull fracture and ended up back in the ER running a CT scan and such - not fun!
I hope thing are ok, but he does need to been seen by a doctor just in case, and at that appointment talk to them about "when to call the doctor" for certain "emergencies" - it will help you alot!

My 4 yr old daughter has had some falls on her bike and other times. She was getting so cranky and she is normally a happy child. I was concerned because it seemed to keep happening. I ended up feeling like she needed something, so I took her to my chiropracter who does the NUCCA method - much safer and more effective, and for $20 she got an adjustment and felt so much better afterward. She is back to her old self. She was in pain and told me her head hurt a lot. Now she is doing very well.

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