App review: CDC’s Heads Up

Need a primer on how to spot the signs of a concussion for your child? The Centers For Disease Control and Prevention's Heads Up app will help you learn how to recognize the signs and symptoms, and what to do if you think a child has a concussion or other serious brain injury.

This is crucial information that you can find easily in the app to act quickly if needed. Children and teen athletes are more susceptible to concussion than older athletes, and they have an increased risk compared to adults for traumatic brain injury with greater severity and prolonged recovery due to their developing brains.

The app says that signs and symptoms generally appear soon after an injury, but the seriousness of the injury and some symptoms may not appear for hours or days. In rare cases of a hematoma (a collection of blood in the brain), you would need to take your child immediately to the emergency room. If a child does suffer from a concussion, there is information on recovery, such as when to return to school and sports.

This app can also help you pick the right helmet for your child's activity, including what to look for and what to avoid. For example, you can choose hockey to find out about the correct size and fit, tips for finding a good helmet, and how long it should last.

Besides sports, there are safety tips to prevent brain injuries at home, playground, cars, homes, and bikes.

Lastly, the CDC encourages to share information on concussions with others. In May, President Obama at the Healthy Kids and Safe Sports Concussion Summit called for the end of the culture in youth sports where kids are encouraged to “suck it up” after sustaining head injuries.

“We have to change a culture that says you suck it up,” said President. “Identifying a concussion and being able to self-diagnose that this is something that I need to take care of doesn’t make you weak - it means you’re strong.”

Read more about six common myths about kids and concussions and why kids need time easing back into school after concussions from this blog.


Have a question for the Healthy Kids panel? Ask it here. Read more from the Healthy Kids blog »