Emergency advice

Baby minor head injury:

  1. Hold an ice pack against their head.
  2. Assess their level of response with AVPU scale.
  3. If unresponsive or worried call 999/112

Baby severe head injury:

  1. Call 999/112.
  2. Monitor breathing, prepare to do CPR if necessary. Try not to move in case of spinal injury. Only move them if they are in danger.

When your baby starts to crawl, they can bump their head on furniture or other objects and when starting to walk they may be unsteady and fall. Most of the time the injury will be minor and they might not even cry, but sometimes a bump on the head can be more serious.

Minor head injury

Signs and symptoms

Look for:

  • bump or bruise to the head
  • possible head wound
  • dizziness or vomiting
  • short period of unresponsiveness.

What to do

  1. Baby head injury first aid - hold something cold against the injury

    If you think your baby has a minor head injury sit them on your lap and hold something cold against the injury to help reduce the swelling, like an ice pack or a frozen bag of vegetables wrapped in a tea towel.

  2. Baby head injury first aid - assess baby's level of response

    While you do this try to assess the baby’s level of response using the AVPU scale.

    • A – Are they alert? Are their eyes open?
    • V – Can they respond to you if you talk to them?
    • P – Does the baby respond to pain? If you flick the bottom of their foot, or pinch their ear lobe, do they respond to you by moving or opening their eyes?
    • U – Are they unresponsive to all of the above? If they are unresponsive or you are worried, call 999 or 112 for emergency help.
  3. Baby head injury first aid - apply direct pressure to the wound

    If they have any wounds, treat them by applying direct pressure to the wound.

  4. Baby head injury first aid - keep checking baby's level of response

    Keep checking the baby’s level of response until they’ve recovered or medical help arrives.

Severe head injury

Signs and symptoms

Look for:

  • drowsiness
  • headache
  • vomit
  • if they suffer a seizure or fit
  • unequal pupil size
  • blood or blood stained watery fluid coming from the ear or nose
  • unresponsiveness.

What to do

  1. First aid - call 999 or 112 for emergency help

    If you know that your baby has had a severe knock to the head or a minor head injury is getting worse, you should call 999 or 112 for emergency help and tell ambulance control that you suspect a serious head injury to your baby.

  2. Baby CPR - place them on a firm surface and open their airway

    While you’re waiting for help to arrive check your baby’s breathing and ensure their airway is open and clear. If they stop breathing at any point prepare to start CPR. Try not to move your baby in case they have a spinal injury.

Did you find this information helpful?

Related advice

How to do CPR on a baby (under one year old)

If a baby is not responding to you and not breathing normally, you will need to call 999 or 112 for emergency help and start CPR straight away. Learn what to do.

Severe bleeding in babies

Sometimes, babies that are crawling can cut themselves in a way that causes severe bleeding. Find out what to do.

Head injuries in adults

All head injuries are potentially serious because they may damage the brain. A head injury may cause damage to the brain tissue, a skull fracture or an injury to the spine or neck. Learn what to do.

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