BENGALURU: Children are getting more susceptible to head injuries due to fall from high-rise buildings or road accidents, say doctors. In the past four months, the state-run Institute of Child Health and NIMHANS have recorded more than 150 life-threatening trauma cases of children with grievous head injuries. With March 19 being ‘World Head Injury Awareness Day’, doctors are asking parents to be observant of their child’s head injuries and also about how ‘golden hour’ in case of road accidents is very important.
The increase in trauma cases is due to a combination of reasons, including fall from height, unsafe driving, lack of paediatric helmets, and children getting into altercations. “Head injuries are one of the most common causes of disability and death in children. The injury can be mild as a bump, bruise or cut on the head, or can be moderate due to concussion, or a deep cut or open wound, fractured skull, internal bleeding or damage to the brain,” Dr Santosh N, consultant neonatologist & pediatrician, Apollo Cradle, Jayanagar, said.
“Children come with various degrees of head injuries. In many cases, injury happens at home. Most of them are in the age group of 3-4 years. Older children have severe head injuries due to accidental fall while cycling or playing a sport,” Dr Vykunta Raju K N, paediatric neurologist, Indira Gandhi Institute of Child Health, said. Even though symptoms can be mild and invisible, there is a possibility that the child may not be able to explain the discomfort. Hence few symptoms can be taken lightly, said Dr Rajesh Mohan Shetty, consultant, Critical Care Medicine, Manipal Hospitals.
“The child may be sleepy, or may not display normal behaviour. There maybe be pain in some other part of the body, like face or leg. Though critical symptoms like complete unconsciousness or sudden bleeding must not be ignored, some of these may not be visible, like headache, blurring of vision, loss of speech,
or weakness in the arms/ legs,” Shetty said.
Most head injuries in paediatric patients occur when they fall from the cot or fall down while at home, school, or outdoors. In such cases, the chances of sustaining head injuries are less in children, because of the high elasticity of the bone, as compared to the same injuries in adults.
“Head injuries in children can be ignored when the child is active, alert, or when there is no vomiting, fits or bleeding from ear, nose, mouth,” Dr Venkatesh A N, head of department, Emergency Medicine, Apollo Hospitals, Bannerghatta, said, adding that providing medcal assistance within an hour of sustaining the injury helps prevent the body from being deprived of oxygen at certain tissue levels, and also from abnormally elevated carbon dioxide levels.