For bruised heads and head injuries it is important to look for signs of internal head injury and monitor the casualty closely for the next 48 hours.
Call an ambulance if they have or develop any of the following:
- abnormal breathing
- obvious serious wound or suspected skull fracture
- bleeding or clear fluid from the nose, ear, or mouth
- disturbance of speech or vision
- pupils of unequal size
- weakness or paralysis
- neck pain or stiffness
- vomiting more than once
NB: It is not unusual for children to vomit immediately after an accident in response to pain, so do not panic if the child is sick just once after a head injury, but do get them seen by a qualified health professional. (For more information about when to call an ambulance, we suggest you read this article from our archive)
Children often have nose bleeds. They can be a result of warm weather or exercise, which dilate the small blood vessels in their nose, or they can be the result of picking or poking their noses, or running into things.
If a child has a nose bleed:
- Sit them down.
- Grab something absorbent to catch the blood.
- Lean them forward, pinching the bridge of the nose. Leaning the child forward whilst applying pressure to the nose will allow you to see when the bleeding has stopped and will avoid the blood trickling down the back of their throat which could make them sick. You should apply pressure and try to compress the leaking blood vessel against the inside of the nose to stop it bleeding.
- Keep changing your grip until you have got to a point where no blood is coming out.
- Keep applying pressure for at least 10 minutes.
- Release pressure slightly and if it starts to bleed again hold for another 10 minutes.
If it really won’t stop bleeding you will need medical help.
Advise them not to pick, poke or blow their nose. If it starts again you will have to apply pressure once more.
If the nose bleed has been caused by trauma, or a punch in the face, controlling the bleeding may be difficult but you need to try as loss of blood is dangerous. You should apply a wrapped ice pack, keep applying pressure and get medical help.
It is strongly advised that you attend a Practical or online First Aid course to understand what to do in a medical emergency. Please visit www.firstaidforlife.org.uk firstname.lastname@example.org or tel 0208 675 4036 for more information about our courses.
First Aid for life provides this information for guidance and it is not in any way a substitute for medical advice. First Aid for Life is not responsible or liable for any diagnosis made, or actions taken based on this information.
Emma Hammett, First Aid for Life