Newborn Skull Fractures: Causes, Symptoms & Long Term Effects

Newborn Skull Fractures: Causes, Symptoms & Long Term Effects

by / Friday, 04 October 2019 / Published in Birth Trauma
Mother holding baby in hands resting on her legs

The skull of a newborn baby isn’t quite like the skull of an adult. While adults have skulls that are a single solid piece of bone, newborns have softer skulls that consist of multiple different plates of bone that later turn into a solid piece of bone as the child gets older. The soft nature of a baby’s skull helps make it easier for the child to move through the birth canal during delivery, but it also means that newborns have skulls that are more susceptible to fractures around the time of birth. Infants born prematurely are at an even higher risk of skull fractures because their bodies are even less developed.

Because the skulls of newborns are so vulnerable to damage, skull fractures can be caused by many different things. Because of the pressure that is exerted on a child’s head during delivery, prolonged labor and otherwise complicated deliveries can create an increased risk of a skull fracture occurring. Complications like the baby being in a breech position or the baby being too large for the mother’s pelvis can result in many different types of birth injuries in addition to skull fractures, such as injuries caused by a lack of oxygen, so it’s very important for any medical professionals attending the birth to act quickly to deliver the baby as soon as possible when these types of conditions are detected.

In some cases, newborn skull fractures can be the result of birth-assisting tools being used improperly. Tools like forceps and vacuum extractors may be used in complicated deliveries to help the baby along, but if they aren’t used correctly, they can potentially cause injuries. If either type of tool exerts too much force on the child’s head, a skull injury can result. A skull fracture might also occur if a baby experiences some kind of physical trauma shortly after birth, such as if they are dropped or mishandled.

Skull fractures in newborns can widely vary in severity and the symptoms a child shows and their long-term outlook will depend on how severe the injury is. In mild cases, it’s very common for the child to not show any symptoms at all, but mild fractures might also result in things like sensitivity to light and sound, difficulty sleeping, lethargy, excessive crying, and seizures. Mild to severe skull fractures may involve some kind of visible symptom, like a bruising, lump, a depression, or swelling. In very severe cases, it may have caused a brain injury. Some of the long-term complications involving more severe newborn skull fractures may include cognitive difficulties, seizure disorders, paralysis, and difficulties speaking.

If your child experienced a skull fracture around the time of birth, don’t hesitate to get in touch with a birth trauma lawyer as soon as possible. It’s only natural to have a lot of questions after discovering that your child has been injured and a lawyer will be able to help answer them. At Goodwin & Scieszka, you’ll be able to speak to a Michigan lawyer who is experienced in handling birth trauma cases. Contact us today for help with your case.