Minor head injuries are one of the most common treated areas of the body within first aid. They typically involve the child and infant but can affect all age groups. The associated bruise or bump which appears on the skin is easily treatable, but it is also important to be able to spot the signs of a more serious type of head injury. 

Signs & Symptoms

Many minor head injuries are witnessed by a bystander and if the fall is not seen then typically the loud thud and associated crying will be. If none of these signs were visible then look out for a child with a bruise on their head that may be swelling into a raised bump / lump.

What You Will Need

Luckily, head bumps are one of the more easily treatable conditions within first aid. You will need the following to help treat the condition:
  • Bag of ice / frozen vegetables
  • Tea towel or other similar cloth
  • Cold compress or gel pack (if preferred to ice)
Helpful hint - Some gel packs rely on a chemical reaction and when snapped will become cold. These are very useful for storing in first aid boxes


Firstly it’s best to calm the infant / child and get them into a seated position so that they can rest. Next, get the bag of ice, wrap it around the tea towel and apply gently against the affected area. Ice is proven to help reduce swelling and will also comfort the child. Try and maintain this position for a maximum of 20 minutes.


  1. Sit the child down
  2. Wrap a bag of ice / frozen vegetables around a tea towel / cloth
  3. Apply against the affected area for a 20 minute period

Signs of a More Serious Head Injury

The vast majority of head injuries are minor because the brain is protected by the skull acting as a crash helmet. Significant amounts of force could cause the brain to shake, which is known as a concussion. Seek professional medical advice if you notice any of the below symptoms:

  • Drowsiness (do not allow a child to sleep outside of their normal pattern)
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Balance problems or dizziness 
  • Blurred vision
  • Loss of memory
  • Changes in personality 

What to do - take the child to A&E or call the emergency services if they are losing consciousness