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Baby Bumped Head: When It’s Time to Worry

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When your baby bumps their head, the world feels like it’s ending! Watching your baby is a full-time job. Even their most casual days can be a massive cause for stress.

Babies learn the world's ways through play, exploration, and responding to stimuli. Due to their motor control functions still developing, their sense of gravity and risk assessment isn’t all that polished. Babies tend to bump their head when they’re attempting to stand up or explore an area they can’t reach. What do you do when this happens?

If your baby bumped their head, stay calm. Our guide will explore the unique qualities of baby head bumps and when it’s time to worry!

Fast Facts About Baby Development

Before diving into head injuries, let’s paint a bigger picture of your baby’s development. Understanding what your baby is and isn’t capable of is key to keeping your cool.

The first few years of your baby’s life are the most influential. According to the World Health Organization, some of today’s worst threats to your child’s health are malnutrition, obesity, or infections. Young children are also rather prone to getting injured due to their low motor control and reduced risk assessment abilities. Mitigate these incidents by being watchful and crafting your environments to be baby-friendly.

Your baby bumping their head and crying out is an understandable cause for alarm. Part of being a good parent is ensuring your little one’s physical well-being.

Related: What To Know About Baby Growth Spurts

Why do Babies Bump Their Head?

Watching your baby toddle and crawl around is a fulfilling aspect of parenthood. It feels great to see them so curious about the world! Sadly, that curiosity often leads to baby bumps.

Babies don’t understand the consequences of their behavior. Their muscles are also still developing. This underlying growth contributes to their wobbling, shaking movements as they navigate their environment. 

Common reasons why babies bump their head include:

  • Falling inside the crib while trying to get out
  • Slipping in the bathtub
  • Falling down a flight of stairs
  • Falling out of an infant walker
  • Slipping off of furniture they’re trying to climb

Related: How to Deal with Your Child's Night Terrors

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Baby sitting on a gray rug and playing with wooden toys

Determining the Type of Head Injury

Not all head injuries are made equal, thankfully. If your baby experiences a short fall, there’s a high chance the head injury will be on the mild side.

Let’s take a look at what head injuries you can expect when your child takes an unexpected tumble.

Mild Bump

Did your baby slip while trying to clamber onto the couch? Perhaps your child slipped in the tub and struck the back of their head. A mild bump occurs from a short fall and doesn’t appear to be anything serious.

Expect a mild bump to show some swelling, redness, or mild bruising. Sometimes a mild bump may have a thin cut, so disinfect and bandage immediately. As long as nothing feels broken or cracked beneath the surface, your baby will be fine.

Moderate Bump

These bumps are more rare because they require a higher fall than average. Since your baby has weak muscles and little locomotion control, it’s more difficult for them to hit their head this hard.

Does that mean you shouldn’t worry when you see one? Not at all. Moderate bumps will show significant swelling, leading to an egg-like shape on your child’s head. You might also see heavy bruising or redness swelling around the wound. We highly recommend you take your child to a pediatrician at these signs.

Severe Bump (or Concussion)

These bumps are easy to spot due to their severity. If your baby falls from a great height or is struck by a heavy option, there’s a chance they will receive a concussion. 

Concussions can be resolved with medical care, but must be taken as seriously as possible. You know your baby has experienced a concussion if they experience the following issues:

Concussions that aren’t treated may lead to swelling or bleeding of the brain, which may cause permanent damage.

Related: Why Do Babies Cry in Their Sleep?

When Should I Take My Child to a Doctor?

Staying alert and watching for common signs of injury are your best tools for keeping your child safe. While you shouldn’t lose your cool over every little bump, you still need to be attentive.

A solid rule-of-thumb is to wait between twenty-four to forty-eight hours for signs of damage. Keep a close eye on any notable changes in your baby’s behavior that seem out of the norm. While a little fussiness or difficulty sleeping is normal after a bump, vomiting or loss of consciousness is not!

Soothe your child during this timespan by giving them the following:

  • Clean and bandage any scrapes or cuts
  • Give them a cold washcloth to soothe their bump
  • Double-check with your pediatrician

A baby in a white onesie laying in a crib and reaching out

Baby Bumped Head Final Thoughts

When your baby bumped their head, you probably felt your heart stop. As it stands, most baby bumps are a natural part of growing up and are nothing to be worried about.

Mild baby bumps often appear when babies try to climb, explore, or interact with their environment. You’ll know the bump is nothing serious if the swelling is small, there’s no bleeding, and no erratic behavior.

More serious bumps come with nausea, dizziness, loss of consciousness, large swelling, or deep discoloration around the wound. Monitor your child closely twenty-four to forty-eight hours after the bump and call your pediatrician if nothing changes for the better.

We know how stressful it is raising a newborn. Contact us today to set up your customizable 123 Baby Box subscription!