Headaches in young children

Sore little heads ... If it's just a headache, the right treatment will have your child soon back to their normal happy self.
Sore little heads ... If it's just a headache, the right treatment will have your child soon back to their normal happy self. 

Learn how to recognise if your child has a headache, and how you can make your child feel better.

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Headaches are one of the most common illnesses in Australia – and yes, even children can suffer from them.

Children who can speak will usually say, “My head hurts.” Younger children can indicate that they are in pain by holding their head, having low energy levels and a poor appetite.

In young children, headaches can be associated with an illness, such as a cold or flu, a viral infection, ear infections and teething issues. 

In older children, it can be related to over-excitement, tension, stress or a vision problem. (Learn more about the causes of headaches in older children and adults in the Essential Kids health hub). 

Dehydration can also lead to headaches, so be sure to keep your child’s fluid levels up.

Treatment

For a mild headache, lay your child down in a quiet darkened room with a cool face washer on her forehead.

If the headache persists, give paracetamol for temporary relief, and watch her closely.

Note

Some headaches could be the sign of something more serious. If your child has a severe or recurrent headache, or complains of a headache along with a fever, being drowsy or vomiting, contact your doctor or local hospital immediately.

Never give your child aspirin – it can lead to Reye’s syndrome, a rare but potentially fatal illness.