Management of head injuries in children
Intended for healthcare professionals
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Management of head injuries in children

Henry Conchie Fourth-year medical student, University of Bristol, England
Sarah Palmer Paediatric sister in emergency medicine department, Yeovil District Hospital, Somerset, England
Katalin Fernando Consultant in emergency medicine, Yeovil District Hospital, Somerset, England
Siba Prosad Paul Consultant paediatrician, Torbay Hospital, Torquay, England

Head injury is the most common cause of injury-related death and permanent disability in children. Minor head trauma is common in childhood and does not require any medical treatment. Although deficits can occur even after mild to moderate head injury, they are markedly greater and become clinically evident following severe head injury. It is important that emergency department clinicians are aware of the signs and symptoms that indicate severe traumatic brain injury and triage for urgent intervention in those children who present with these signs and symptoms. Clinicians also need to know when children can be sent home with reassurance and information, and when they require admission or transfer to a neurosurgical unit. This article examines the literature on head injuries in children, describes assessment, management and treatment, and provides a simple management algorithm.

Emergency Nurse. 24, 4, 30-40. doi: 10.7748/en.2016.e1578


Peer review

This article has been subject to double-blind review and has been checked using antiplagiarism software

Conflict of interest

None declared

Received: 31 March 2016

Accepted: 12 May 2016

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