What Are The Toddler Concussion Protocols


A child of any age who comes across a direct or indirect hit, blow, or any sort of vigorous head movement in immense force could have a concussion. A concussion changes the way the brain works. A toddler’s brain, which is still in the developing stage, is more at risk than grownups when it comes to concussion. Therefore it is important for the parents to understand what the toddler concussion protocols are.

What Is Concussion In Toddler?

When the head of the child gets a strong shake or blow in head that causes the head to quickly move back and forth or turn from side to side, it may put in a to and fro or a rotating force to the brain. This sudden movement of the brain in the fluid surrounding it can stretch and damage cells. This even sometimes results in changes in the neurochemical level. Even though rarely life-threatening, concussion in toddlers and can have serious effects, if not recognized and treated on time. As the toddlers may not be able to convey they are feeling unwell, a concussion can turn dangerous as this increases the risk of multiple concussions.

What Are The Symptoms Of Concussion In Toddlers?

As the concussion will not bring about any structural injury to the brain, it may not be able to detect via CT scan or MRI scan. Further, to make it more complicated, the signs of a concussion may not show up right away after an injury. It can also appear anytime within three days after the injury. The basic signs of concussions are the same in all age groups. However, when it comes to symptoms of concussion in toddlers, you should interpret the signs in a different way.  

Here are the common signs of concussion in toddlers.

  • The child may or may not get unconscious for a few seconds.
  • The child may stare impassively
  • Unable to answer questions promptly
  • Unable to speak clearly
  • Extreme tiredness
  • Sensitivity to light and sound
  • Unsteady walking, clumsiness, and losing balance often
  • Shows increased irritability and crankiness. You will find it harder to console the child.
  • Showing a lack of interest in a favorite toy
  • Suddenly feeling drowsy
  • Noticeable changes in the manner they used to play
  • Sudden conspicuous changes in eating or sleeping patterns
  • The child may not be able to do normal activities
  • Unable to walk in a straight line
  • The child may forget the new skill he learned recently (like toilet training)
  • Noticeable issues with memory. The child may not be able to recollect simple things like the name of objects.

What Are The Red Flag Symptoms Of Concussion In Toddlers?

Red flag symptoms are signs that necessitate immediate medical attention. If the child exhibit ant of the following signs after an injury to head, take the child to the emergency department immediately if: 

  • Any of the above-mentioned signs aggravate
  • The child lost consciousness after head injury.
  • Pupils are unequal in size.
  • The child is not able to recollect basic things like name and place even after 24 hours.
  • There is blood or fluid oozing out of ears and nose.
  • The drowsiness is increasing, and you find it hard to wake up the child.
  • Persistent vomiting
  • The child is complaining of neck pain and headache
  • The child develops seizures

How To Take Care Of The Toddler After Concussion?

Falls around the home and surroundings are the leading cause of concussion in toddlers.  Here are the steps you should take once you doubt your toddler has a concussion:

Immediately After The Toddler Hit His Head Hard

  • Closely monitor the toddler for about 24 to 48 hours after the injury.  Look out for the signs of concussions.
  • Make sure the child stays away from plays that demand high activity like running, jumping, etc. for at least the first 24 hours after he gets his head hit.
  • Never send the child to childcare for at least two days after the injury. It is better to keep the child under your supervision for the whole week.

During The First Few Days of Concussion

  • Rest the foremost solution for concussion. Ensure the little one is getting plenty of rest. The brain needs time to heal.
  • Rest includes both brain rest and physical rest.
  • Let the child get as much sleep as possible during the first few days after a concussion.
  • Limit the activities that demand thinking and remembering
  • Limit the physical activities
  • Avoid excessive screen time.
  • Let the child do relaxing activities like drawing. You can even tell them stories in a soothing voice.

After The First Week Of Concussion

  • Slowly resume normal activity
  • Never overdo. Whenever the annoying signs of concussion appear or worse, stop the activity right there. Resume it after a considerable period of time.
  • Take the child for short walks.
  • Limit the day time nap so that the child gets enough sleep during the night.
  • Never try to wake up the child at night to check if they are okay. 

Two Weeks After Concussion

  • Increase the physical activity of the child. however, continue close monitoring to ensure none of the signs are coming back
  • Make sure the child avoids activity that increases the risk of getting a second blow to the head. So not allow the child to ride a cycle, football,  or play in climbing equipment in the playground.
  • Make the child go back to his normal schedule.
  • Let the child a break whenever he feels tired.
  • If the symptoms of concussion start to reappear, contact the doctor right away.

Medical Protocol To Follow After Toddler Contract Concussion

  • Never miss a scheduled appointment with the doctor even if the child appears better.
  • Strictly follow the instruction of the doctor for the safe return of the child to play activities. Never rush.
  • Ensure the child is eating a well-balanced diet and having plenty of water and juices than normal days.
  • Give the toddler only the drugs approved by the doctor.

Protocol For Safely Return Of Toddler To Active Play

  • Never let the child continue any kind of physical activity on the same day of the injury.
  • Let the child go back to play as usual only after the doctor gives you a green signal.
  • Once the child gets back to normal life and activities, take the necessary steps to avoid another concussion.


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