SA Regulatory Authority issues advice on head injuries – when should educators worry?
The Education Standards Board (ESB), South Australia’s Regulatory Authority, has recently issued advice for early childhood education and care (ECEC) educators about head injuries, and some signs which indicate that the injuries require further attention.
With children being naturally active and curious people, who are still, in some cases, learning about how to keep themselves safe while moving around, falls, bumps and impact injuries “are inevitable”, the ESB said, warning that while this is the case, serious injury can, and does, occur as a result.
“We are aware of several recent instances where children showed signs of concussion hours after head bumps occurred at an education and care service,” the ESB said.
While seeming fine at the time of the incident, the children involved were later taken to hospital and diagnosed with concussion, constituting a reportable serious incident.
“Head bumps always need to be taken seriously, even if they seem mild,” the ESB noted.
“Concussion is a brain injury caused by physical trauma to the head. You don’t have to lose consciousness to get a concussion. The symptoms can vary dramatically and can also be delayed.”
Not all incidents in which a child bumps their head are seen by an educator, “which can make it hard for educators to establish the extent of a head injury”.
Here, the ESB suggested, educators should consider seeking medical advice if unsure.
Informing parents is essential, even if the injury appears mild and/or the child seems fine afterwards, so that signs of concussion can be looked for once the child is returned to their care.
While all ECEC services are required to have incident, injury, trauma and illness procedures, the ESB recommended that these be reviewed to include steps to take if a child suffers a head injury.