ZocdocAnswersMy one year old has a large lump on the back of his head with no injury. Should we go to ER?

Question

My one year old has a large lump on the back of his head with no injury. Should we go to ER?

My year old son has a large noticable lump on the lower left back of his head that is tender to the touch. he has not fallen or hit his head recently. it has remained the same size for three days. he often pokes at his ear or hits his ear with the palm of his hand. hes been abnormaly lathargic always laying his head down or rubbing his head on things. we went to his doctor yesterday but was told there was no sign of ear infection. i feel something is really wrong and want to take him to the ER but others seem to think its nothing to worry about. what would you suggest would be my best course of action?

Answer

Your son should get care form a doctor soon. The fact that he has been pulling at and rubbing his ear suggests to me that he may have an ear infection or a respiratory infection or throat infection causing backup of pressure and liquid in the ear. Importantly, these conditions can also cause enlarged lymph nodes in the neck, and I strongly suspect that the large bump on the back of your son's neck is probably an enlarged lymph node. However, I do think that your son deserves another evaluation. In particular the fact that he is abnormally lethargic is concerning to me. I understand that you went to the doctor yesterday and that everything seemed fine at that point. However, with this new lethargy, that might be a sign that things are getting worse, not better. It would be very reasonable to take your son to an emergency room for evaluation. Another reasonable option would be to contact your pediatrician's office and ask for an urgent care visit, assuming that they can get you in to be seen quickly. In either setting, the doctor can make sure that your son is safe and that he doesn't have any signs of a serious infection. Good luck!

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