Guideline to Improve Care of Children with mTBI

Doctor examining toddler's mother in lap and smiling

Mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI), also called concussion, affects millions of children each year. CDC’s Pediatric mTBI Guideline seeks to improve the care of this injury.

An mTBI can lead to short- or long-term problems affecting how a child thinks, acts, learns, and feels. CDC created the Pediatric mTBI Guideline, based on the latest science, to improve the health and safety of this vulnerable population.

The CDC Pediatric mTBI Guideline consists of 19 sets of clinical recommendations. These recommendations are designed for all healthcare providers who care for pediatric patients with this injury.

Recommendations and Tools to Improve Care

Key practice-changing recommendations from the CDC Pediatric mTBI Guideline include:

  • Do not routinely image pediatric patients to diagnose mTBI.
  • Use validated, age-appropriate symptom scales to diagnose mTBI.
  • Assess for risk factors for prolonged recovery.
  • Provide patients with instructions on returning to activity, customized to their symptoms.
  • Counsel patients to return gradually to non-sports activities after no more than 2–3 days of rest.

Doctor talks with young patient and mom

Do you know the latest recommendations on pediatric mTBI?

CDC also developed free tools to help healthcare providers use the Pediatric mTBI Guideline and resources for patients and their families.

These tools include:

Do you know the latest recommendations on pediatric mTBI?

Take the CDC/American Academy of Pediatrics online training

  • This online training, which includes two continuing education credits, provides an overview of the evidence-based recommendations outlined in the CDC Pediatric mTBI Guideline and equips healthcare providers with practical strategies to integrate these recommendations into clinical practice.

Read the CDC Pediatric mTBI Guideline

Read the Systematic Review (A summary of the evidence that forms the basis of the CDC Pediatric mTBI Guideline)

Visit for more information about CDC’s Pediatric mTBI Guideline or to learn more about concussion and other brain injuries.

Page last reviewed: August 5, 2019
Content source:

National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Division of Unintentional Injury Prevention