To compare parental report of symptoms of concussion for children with superficial head injury versus children with a diagnosis of a mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI).
Urban hospital emergency department.
Parents of 159 children aged 2 to 12 years who presented with an injury to the head.
Parents were contacted within 1 week of injury and assigned into 3 groups according to their child's age and medical diagnosis (group 1, parents of 2- to 5-year-olds with mTBI (n = 39); group 2, parents of 6- to 12-year-olds with mTBI (n = 41); and group 3, parents of 2- to 12-year-olds with superficial injury to the head (n = 35).
Symptoms of concussion were reported in all groups; however, significantly fewer symptoms were reported for children with superficial injuries to the head than for children with mTBI (M = 2.51 vs M = 6.91; P < .001). For mTBI, parents of younger children reported significantly fewer symptoms than parents of older children (M = 5.23 vs M = 8.51; P < .001).
A careful approach needs to be taken when evaluating the severity of mTBI for preschool children. Failure to do so may result in misidentification and subsequent lack of management.