The following table is a guide for parents as to where they should go if their child has sustained a head injury:
Has the child:
Been knocked out at any time?
Injured their neck or spine?
Had difficulty understanding what the parent/carer is saying?
Been confused or so sleepy that the parent/carer cannot wake them properly?
Complained of tingling or numbness (lack of feeling in arms or legs)/shown any weakness in their arms and legs?
Have they been clumsier than usual – having problems with their balance?
Had a fit or convulsion since the head injury?
Become suddenly deaf?
Had clear fluid dribbling out of their nose, ears or both?
Had blood coming from inside one or both ears? more than once? Bled a lot from their head?
If YES to any of the above phone 999 for an ambulance to take the child to A&E.
Has the child:
Fallen from a height greater than their own height? (eg. a baby rolling off a bed)
Fallen more than a metre in height?
Fallen down stairs? Was it from top to bottom or did they bump down the stairs? (bumping down poses less risk)
Had a persistent headache since the injury?
Had a blood clotting disorder?
Been very irritable or “not themselves”, no concentration or interest in things around them?
Are you concerned that your child may have been deliberately abused?
If YES to any of the above consider taking the child to A+E or obtaining medical advice
If the child:
Has not been “knocked out”?
Is alert and interacts with the parent? Has been sick but only once?
Has bruising or minor cuts to their head?
Cried immediately but is otherwise normal?
-> Give self-management advice. Advise them to contact their GP, NHS Direct or go to the Walk–in–Centre if they have any concerns.
For more detailed information please see:
– NICE Head injury Guideline: https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/cg176/chapter/recommendations#criteria-for-performing-a-ct-head-scan-2
– NHS Advice:
– Child SCAT3:
– Headway Organisation:
Has bruising or minor cuts to their head? Cried immediately but is otherwise normal? -> Give self-management advice. Advise them to contact their GP, NHS Direct or go to the Walk–in–Centre if they have any concerns.
Head injury in children