5 Cases Where Your Child’s Headache Can Be Something Serious

child with headache

Children and adults are both capable of experiencing headaches, and they’re usually not serious. Most of the time, they’re caused by a common minor illness, a mild bump to the head, lack of sleep, or not getting enough food or water. Stress can also be a common cause of headaches and even migraines, but not as common as adults’. While you usually don’t have to worry about headaches, there are times they can become too intense for your child and become a problem. Here’s when you should start worrying and call a children’s urgent care center or your pediatrician.

When a headache is accompanied by a fever and a stiff neck.

Whenever your child experiences a headache, you should immediately if they have a fever and if they have the full articulation of their head and neck. Ask your child to look up at the ceiling, touch their chin to their chest, or move their head back and forth. If they seem to be having difficulty doing these simple movements, it’s best to bring them to your doctor or the nearest children’s urgent care facility.

When your child experiences severe pain despite taking pain medication.

For most run-of-the-mill headaches, acetaminophen and ibuprofen can typically help relieve headaches for your child. These are over-the-counter pain medications that should be taken at the first sign of a headache. Just be mindful of the dose and frequency of taking these medications, as they can become a contributing factor to headaches if overused.

The problem starts when your child starts experiencing severe headaches even after taking these pain medications. That in itself could become a major problem, which needs immediate medical attention.

When a headache is accompanied by frequent or persistent vomiting.

The moment your child starts to vomit frequently while having a headache, it could already be something else, especially in the absence of other signs of illness like fever or diarrhea. This could probably be a virus or a severe reaction to a head bump. It’s worth calling your doctor as soon as possible, as vomiting could actually be a sign of pressure on the brain.

When a headache wakes your child from sleep.

Children waking up in the middle of the night happens for a variety of reasons. But when your child is sleeping, and a splitting headache is what woke them from their sleep, that’s not an average headache. You better call your family doctor or a children’s urgent care center when this happens.

When the headaches are frequent and are interfering with daily life.

Having a headache two or three times a week isn’t exactly normal for any child. If they’re struggling to do homework, play, or otherwise live a normal life because of these headache attacks, that’s more than enough indication that you need to have them looked at by your pediatrician. While it doesn’t necessarily mean there’s something wrong, it’s still worth a visit to the doctor.


Knowing when your child’s headaches are normal or severe enough to call a doctor is important to every parent. This is especially true since headaches are quite common among different age brackets, making it easy to mistake for something that’s completely normal and harmless.

Your Kid’s Urgent Care provides after-hours medical care in a calm and soothing environment, unlike emergency rooms or hospitals. We provide exceptional care to infants, children, and adolescents when their primary care physician’s office may be closed or unavailable. Whenever you need flu shots, telemedicine, and urgent care for children, our New Providence, Vestavia Hills, and Florida care centers are always available to serve you. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.

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