J Pediatr Psychol. 2023 Aug 14:jsad044. doi: 10.1093/jpepsy/jsad044. Online ahead of print.
OBJECTIVE: Little is known about the symptoms, signs, and management guidelines for children under the age of 6 years after they sustain a concussion. Caregivers of such young children may have unique concerns and encounter different challenges from those of school-age children given the distinctive developmental characteristics of the early childhood period. This study aimed to explore the experience of caregivers through semistructured interviews to inform clinical practice.
METHODS: Fifty caregivers of children aged 6 months to 5.99 years were interviewed 3 months postinjury for this qualitative study to document their experience in relation to their child’s accident, recovery, and healthcare provisions.
RESULTS: Four main themes were identified: (1) visible changes associated with caregiver concerns, (2) a roller-coaster of emotions after the injury, (3) healthcare providers’ role in addressing the need for reassurance, and (4) the need for better information after the injury.
CONCLUSION: The findings provide critical insight into the unique experiences and information needs of caregivers of young children who sustain concussion. The challenges identified can inform healthcare professionals regarding the needs of caregivers after early concussion and contribute to building a knowledge base for the development of age-appropriate anticipatory guidance for caregiver mental health and child recovery.