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Learn How To Protect Your Child From Serious Head Injuries

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RALEIGH — Very few children make it through the summer without at least a few bumps and bruises. But sometimes those bumps can cause serious problems, so what should you do?

Children's head injuries are keeping emergency departments busy over the summer.

"We're already seeing an increase and it will probably just continue as we get further into summer," says Dr. David Leader of WakeMed.

If your child suffers a fall on the playground, first determine if the child has a head or neck injury or if he/she has blacked-out. If you are concerned, you should dial 911. If your child has bumps and bruises, early ice application is important. Ice reduces swelling and relieves pain.

"A lot of kids will come in with a big goose egg on their forehead. Parents are really concerned about that," Leader says. "All that means is their scalp is swelling. It doesn't mean there's anything inside the brain going on."

In all cases, apply ice immediately. If, at any time, the child loses consciousness, has a severe headache, repeated vomiting, seizures or dizziness, you need to seek immediate help. If he/she seems fine, but you are still concerned, give your pediatrician a call.

"They can give you direction on whether they think you should bring your child in for evaluation," Leader says.

Emergency department physicians are also seeing a lot of broken bones and fractures, primarily from falls from scooters, skates and bikes. That is why it is important that your child wear a bike helmet and pads to reduce the risk of injury.