Your little one fell and bumped her head while playing. She seems fine, but you’re worried. Should you call her doctor?

Older babies and toddlers fall and bump their heads a lot. It’s part of learning how to walk and stay steady on their feet. You won’t need to visit a doctor for most of these little tumbles.

“A child who is acting normally may not need to be treated if there are no cuts and little or no swelling,” says Fahd Ahmad, MD, MSCI, a Washington University pediatric emergency medicine physician at St. Louis Children’s Hospital. “We also become more concerned with behavior changes, high speed impacts, impacts on sharp objects or falls from high up, such as off a changing table.”

After a child falls, look for signs she may need to see a doctor. Those signs include:

  • changes in how she acts, such as not wanting to play or eat
  • crying that lasts for more than 10 minutes
  • not being able to breathe easily
  • passing out
  • sleepiness that doesn’t seem normal
  • throwing up

Call your child’s doctor if you see any of these warning signs.

Get more care advice about bumps, bruises, fevers and other common health problems when you need it. Download the free St. Louis Children’s Hospital Kid Care app from the Apple App or Google Play stores.


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