How to treat minor head injuries and goose eggs?

Elvis Elvis

I remember my son’s first head injury. Boy was I scared when I saw that “goose egg” pop up on his forehead. It happened when he was still a novice to walking. And just like my son, all toddlers will bump their heads. The good news is that most head bumps and bruises are minor.

The purpose of a skull is to protect the brain from injury. Infants and toddlers have 6 bones in their skull. In between these bones are spaces, which are called fontanelles (sometimes called soft spots) and sutures (the elastic band that holds cranial bones together). These are needed in order for an infant’s brain to grow and develop. Fortunately these spaces also protect the brain from injury when they bump their heads.

How to treat minor head injuries and goose eggs?

Almost every child has bumped their head. Here are some questions to ask yourself after your baby or toddler has a minor head injury.

  • Is my little one under 6 months old?
  • Is there prolonged crying in my little one?
  • Did my child lose consciousness even for a second?
  • Is my child vomiting repeatedly?
  • Is my child losing his/her balance repeatedly?
  • Is there bleeding from the nose, and/or ears?
  • Did my child fall from more than 3 feet?
  • Does my little one’s eyes look abnormal?
  • Is my child complaining of a severe headache?
  • Is my little one behaving or talking abnormally?
  • Does my child’s head have an indentation?
  • Is my child complaining of neck pain?
  • Is there a serious wound or fracture?
  • Is my child breathing abnormally?
  • Not sure what to do?If you answered yes to any of these questions, it is best to call your little one’s pediatrician.

    Call 911 IMMEDIATELY if your child is:

  • Unresponsive.
  • Not breathing.
  • Having seizures.After a head injury, it is best to have your little one relax. Therefore, if it is naptime (or bedtime) you can let them take their nap. However, you should periodically monitor them and check to see if their limbs are twitching. You should also check to make sure they are breathing normally and do not have any abnormal color. If they do, or if your instincts are telling you that something is not right, call your little one’s pediatrician. It is better to be safe than sorry.

    Another thing you can do for your little one’s minor head injury is to put ice on it. This will help with the swelling and pain. Putting an ice pack on the bump (the longer the ice stays on there the better) may be easier said than done. Little ones sometimes wiggle and squirm because they do not like having something on an area that is hurting. What may help is putting crushed ice in his/her favorite towel or shirt.

    You can also make some color ice packs BEFORE a minor head injury occurs. Your little one may like a color ice pack better than a clear one. Just add a few of drops of food coloring to any one of the recipes below.

    Here are some ways you can make your own reusable ice pack.

    Flexible Gel Ice Pack
    Make a flexible gel ice pack by pouring a small bottle of dishwashing liquid into a plastic, re-sealable bag. Place that bag inside a second bag to guard against leaks. Double zip and then check both seals, and place in the freezer for at least two hours. The dishwashing liquid will not solidify, but form an icy gel. You can wrap this type of ice pack around knees or elbows and secure it into place when wrapped with a cotton bandage. This is a cost-effective method. You can use the dishwashing liquid (and wash and re-use the bag) once you no longer need an ice pack. Make sure to clearly label the packet: “DO NOT EAT!” and place it out of reach of your little one.

    I Need It Now Ice Pack
    Grab the nearest bag of frozen fruit or vegetables for an “spur-of-the-moment” ice pack. Any type will work, but look for food with smaller pieces. For example, a bag of peas works better than a bag of broccoli. The smaller pieces make the bag more flexible and form a closer bond to the skin. Once the contents of the bag become “mushy”, simply re-freeze. Store in the freezer until you need another ice pack (or a good side dish).

    Disposable Diaper Ice Pack
    Create a firm, custom-molded reusable ice pack by drenching a new disposable diaper with plain water. Fold and double bag the wet diaper, and then freeze it overnight. When it emerges, the ice pack will be stiff. Knead it well, and the gel granules inside the diaper will loosen enough to mold into a custom fit. If you don’t have diapers, sometimes you can find single disposable diapers in vending machines.

    Rubbing Alcohol Ice Pack
    Construct a liquid ice pack using a 1:2 mixture of rubbing alcohol and tap water, then double-bag the mixture in resealable bags. The alcohol helps maintain the cold temperature and keeps the concoction from freezing solid. Clearly label the packet: “DO NOT EAT!” and place it out of reach of your little one. Rubbing alcohol is toxic when ingested.

    Rice Ice Pack
    Use rice to create a mild ice pack. Insert 1 1/2 cups of rice into a sandwich sized, plastic zip seal bag. (Any type of rice will do.) Freeze the rice for two hours. The result is a simple ice pack that feels quite cool, yet not ice cold, to the skin. This is an excellent form of cold therapy for patients who find ice pack temperatures too uncomfortable to withstand. To make a larger version, use 4 cups of rice and a gallon-sized plastic bag.


  • To prevent frostbite to the skin always wrap the ice pack with a towel. Also, do not leave an ice pack on your little one for more than 20 minutes.
  • Your child can help you make these ice packs. (Little ones love helping whenever they can.)