Fast facts about headaches in children

  • Headaches in children are common55
  • Headaches in children are usually not serious but it is important to pay close attention and seek medical help if you are concerned55
  • Children can suffer from the same type of headaches as adults, e.g. migraine or tension headaches55
  • Symptoms of headache in children can differ from those in adults55
  • Over-the-counter analgesics may help to ease the headache55

Headaches in children are common and usually not serious.55 Children can get the same type of headaches as adults, such as migraines or tension headaches.55 Other causes include anxiety, infection, a minor knock to the head, or chronic daily headaches.55 Symptoms in children can differ from those in adults, especially in younger children who cannot describe symptoms.55 This can make it difficult to pinpoint the headache type.55 It is important to consult with a doctor if the headache worsens or occurs frequently.55

Helping your child at home

Headaches can be prevented or reduced by making sure your child eats healthily, gets enough sleep, and stays hydrated.55 Measures to reduce stress and anxiety will help to reduce the frequency and severity of headaches.55 A headache diary can help you determine the cause of your child's headache. Write down when the headaches start, how long they last and what provides relief.55

Monitor your child's headaches and see if you can identify the triggers.55 Helping your child avoid or manage the triggers can help minimise the occurrence of headaches.55

Would an analgesic be of value?

Yes, ask your doctor or pharmacist for an over-the-counter analgesic that contains paracetamol and/or ibuprofen for relief of pain.56 Follow the dose recommendation for your child's age.

When to contact a doctor

It's important that you take your child to see a doctor if a headache:55

  • Follows a hard bump or injury to their head
  • Wakes them up from sleep
  • Worsens or becomes more frequent
  • Is accompanied by a change in your child’s personality
  • Is accompanied by persistent vomiting or visual changes
  • Is accompanied by fever and neck pain or a stiffness

Frequently asked questions