A concussion is a traumatic blow to the brain. Concussion occurs if a blow to the head causes the brain to bounce off the skull, causing swelling and trauma, according to PDR Health. Concussion can also occur if injury causes bleeding inside the skull that compresses the brain. Symptoms of concussion are caused by trauma to different parts of the brain. Because babies can't explain their symptoms, parents must be observant and aware of the possible symptoms.
Changes in Mental Status
When a baby cries after receiving a blow to the head, this is a good sign that he does not have a concussion. However, a baby who loses consciousness, even for a few seconds, may have sustained a hematoma, which is a collection of blood that puts pressure on the brain. Dr. Jim Sears, Associate Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at the University of California, Irvine, School of Medicine, explains that a baby might hold his breath, which may lead you to believe he has passed out. Wait a few seconds to see if he begins breathing again. If the baby is unconscious, check that he's breathing and is pink; if he's blue and isn't breathing, start CPR. If loss of consciousness is accompanied by a seizure, make sure there's nothing in his mouth to choke on and lay him flat; then call 911.
A baby with a concussion may be very lethargic. He may refuse to eat, refuse to play and be limp and sleepy. These symptoms indicate an immediate need for medical care. On the other hand, a baby with a concussion may be extremely fussy and irritable, crying continuously.
Changes in the eye can be an indicator of concussion in an infant. Babies with concussion may display an enlarged pupil in one eye, but not in the other. The baby may have crossed eyes or rolling eyes. Any change in the eyes indicates the need for immediate evaluation after a head injury.
Other Physical Symptoms
An infant whose fontanelle, the soft spot at the top of the head, is still open may have a fontanelle that's bulging; the usually pliable soft spot will feel full and tense. Any infant with a bulging fontanelle should be seen immediately by medical personnel; this indicates fluid buildup inside the skull. A baby who has clear fluid draining from his ear or nose should also be promptly taken to a physician, because there may be skull fracture or a tear in the covering of the brain, according to the University of Chicago. After an injury, vomiting once isn't uncommon, Sears says, but vomiting after that, especially if vomiting is forceful and occurs repeatedly, is a sign of possible concussion.