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2 min read

First aid in school: treating a minor head injury.

treating minor head injury

Bumped heads (minor head injuries) are one of the most common injuries recorded in primary schools, with an increased risk of injury during playtimes, lunchtimes, and PE lessons. Schools are required to have designated first aiders trained and prepared to administer medical care to pupils; other unqualified staff can also be expected (although not a mandatory requirement) to assist with first aid, if necessary, in your school. Sharing small snippets of first aid information with your staff, across your parent communication platform and even with your pupils can help to build competence and first aid confidence. 


Let’s explore what a minor head injury is, the signs to look out for and, importantly, how to support a pupil with a bumped head effectively. 


What is the difference between a major and minor head injury?

A major head injury will need emergency medical attention; this will often be because of a large blow to the head (including falling over and making contact with a hard surface).

The NHS suggests looking for the following signs of a major head injury:

  • Unresponsiveness of the patient
  • Uneven pupil size
  • Fluid or blood coming out of the nose or ears
  • A large wound on the head

If unsure if the injured pupil has experienced a major or minor head injury, call 999 for support. 

More commonly, pupils bump heads during free-play games. A minor head injury is dealt with by school first aiders frequently during play times. There is a scale known as the AVPU scale, which should be used to determine the severity of the head injury in school first aid.






What are the signs of a minor head injury?

Signs and symptoms of a minor head injury are usually short-lived; after first aid assistance, the child most likely will continue with their day in school. Following a bump to the head, the pupil may: 

  • Have a headache (mild and not sharp pain)
  • Feel sick or queasy
  • Feel slightly dizzy
  • Have mild blurred vision


How to treat a minor head injury in school

There are eight easy steps to follow if you are administering first aid to a pupil with a minor head injury:

  1. Encourage the injured person to sit down (this is in case they feel dizzy or faint). 
  2. Assess the severity using the AVPU scale. 
  3. Place an ice pack (or frozen bag of vegetables) on the bumped area. 
  4. Monitor for any changes to the AVPU scale. 
  5. If a small wound, apply pressure with clean gauze to the wound, ready to clean and dress. 
  6. Record the head injury using your online first aid software. 
  7. Inform the parents via your online first aid software notification system
  8. Remind parents to monitor their child’s health for the next 24 hours, looking out for signs of concussion.


How to prevent head injuries in school

There are reasonable precautions you can take as a school to prevent bumped heads and minor head injuries.


1. Check the safety of your school equipment regularly

Completed annually with your first aid risk assessment, your school’s outdoor exercise equipment (including the playground) should be regularly assessed to monitor safety and suitability of use.


2. Reduce all possible school hazards

The school environment involves active play and learning; hazards are part and parcel of childhood: your school can reduce the hazards and risks in the school day easily through a thorough first aid risk assessment.


3. Monitor and analyse school hazard hotspots

Using an online first aid management software tool, analyse the number of incidents in the school day, including their location, type of injury and causation. Highlighting pockets of risk in your school, allowing for proactive prevention planning.


4. Track the number of first aid qualified staff

Make first aid administration simple during school playtimes and lunchtimes by tracking the number of qualified first aid staff members through your online health and first aid software. Medical Tracker notifies schools of expiring qualifications, prompting schools to have enough first aid trained staff spread evenly across the school or MAT.


5. Record near-miss first aid injuries

Using Medical Tracker’s incident reporting feature, all staff can input near-miss accidents, injuries and incidents (including mental health concerns). Taking 30 seconds to input a near-miss medical incident could prevent future serious injuries in the future.


See how Medical Tracker can make your school safer and improve the quality of your first aid provision whole school, contact one of our experts today.

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