Bumps and blows to the head

Active young children hit their heads frequently, for example when they fall down. Most of the time these bumps and blows to the head are not serious and are harmless. However, sometimes a more severe blow can lead to complications.

Your child hits his head or is hit on the head:

  • If your child is unconscious, call 9-1-1.
  • If your child is under 3 months of age, see a doctor right away. It is more difficult to assess the condition of a baby this age, even if he seems to be doing fine after a blow to the head.

If your child is behaving normally and is not displaying any of the symptoms listed in the red box, watch him:

For 6 hours after the blow to the head – If your child wants to sleep, let him. But wake him up every two to three hours to make sure he is reacting normally. If he is still reacting normally after six hours, you can let him sleep as he usually would.

In the 24 to 48 hours following the blow to the head – If your child has any of the symptoms in the red box above, see a doctor.

You can also call Info-Santé at any time by dialling 8-1-1 if you have any concerns.

Information to which you should pay special attentionIn children of all ages, the following situations require an immediate trip to the doctor or the emergency room:

  • Your child has lost consciousness.
  • He is semi-conscious, disoriented, or behaving strangely (e.g., he is difficult to wake, very irritable, does not make eye contact, or displays some other behaviour you find troubling).
  • He is having a convulsion, is very agitated, or is shaking.
  • He has trouble moving an arm or a leg, has trouble walking, or lacks coordination.
  • He has a lump or deformation in the scalp area (on the top, back, or side of his head).
  • He fell from a height of more than 0.9 metre (3 feet) or five steps.
  • His head was hit very hard or hit by a fast moving object.
  • He has vomited more than once.
  • A bruise appears behind his ear or under his eye.
  • There is a clear reddish discharge from his ear.