July 02, 2015

Q: My baby fell and hit her head. What should I do?

A: Bumping her noggin is probably one of the most common accidents that will happen to your new crawler or walker, and chances are it will occur more than once. If your baby falls, wait to scoop her up until you're certain she can use all her extremities. If she seems okay, pick her up and examine her body and demeanor. Call the doctor if anything appears off, or if your child has any of the following symptoms:

- A bump on the head, which could indicate an underlying fracture in the skull or internal bleeding - Unusual eye movements - Leaking blood or clear liquid from the ear canal - Black eyes - Bruising behind the ears

Go right to the ER if your baby:

- Loses consciousness - Has difficulty waking - Is unable to recognize her surroundings - Won't stop vomiting (it's not unusual to throw up initially from being upset, but it can be a sign of an internal injury if it continues) - Has an open injury, broken bone, or a substantial break in the skin - Is irritable for long periods or won't stop crying

Originally published in the March 2008 issue of Parents magazine. Updated 2009

Answered by Parents Team