When Your Baby Has A Fall

It’s one of those fears every new parent faces, when your baby falls off the bed or rolls over the couch. It can be scary and nerve-wracking. When my daughter was little she rolled off the couch onto the tile floor where we used to live. I was terrified and watched her ever so closely determined not to let her sleep or even blink for fear she wouldn’t wake up. Then with our son, my daughter once tried picking him up because he was crying and as I rushed to get him in what seemed like slow motion she dropped him. Moments like this make your heart skip a beat as you start to panic for the safety of your child. Breathe. Here are some tips and signs to look for in the event that your baby falls.

 

 

They All Come Tumbling Down

We’re all human and accidents do happen to the best of us. The most common falls result when a baby rolls of the couch or the bed. Each year ERs see over 2.3 million children for fall-related injuries. Most baby falls are not serious and do not require a trip to the ER. In my experience as a former Medical Assistant, more kids were taken to the emergency room and exposed unnecessarily to radiation for scans after experiencing a fall. While it’s always better to be safe rather than sorry, it is not always required to rush to the doctor’s office.

The fact of the matter is, all kids will experience a fall at some point. Babies are more prone as they can easily roll off of furniture, although most toddlers encounter head bumps and bruises as they begin crawling and walking on unsteady legs. Such incidents usually occur where babies are only a foot or two from the ground and rarely lead to a serious injury. Baby falls that you should be more concerned with or the ones that happen at a height greater than 3 feet, especially when onto a hard floor. In such cases where you know your baby has hit their head, especially onto a hard surface it is strongly advised to bring them to the ER right away.

What To Do If Your Baby Falls

Whether it’s from the couch or a high chair, these are some guidelines to follow after your baby encounters a fall.

1.) Don’t Panic. The first thing you should do is try to remain calm and console your child. If your baby cries, this is a good sign. Before scooping them up, watch for your baby to move their extremities.

2.) Examine your child. Do a thorough exam on your child to check for any bumps, bruises, cuts, redness, swelling, or deformity with your baby undressed. If your baby seems ok and you don’t see any obvious bumps or swelling on the head or other areas on the body, chances are they are fine and do not need to be rushed to the ER. The bone structures in a baby’s head are soft and while it does increase the risk of internal brain injury, bone fractures are less likely than in older children with harder skulls. Babies may experience a bump on the head following a fall that may not indicate a serious injury in which you can apply ice (granting your child will let) and just monitor them closely for any signs of worsening.

3.) Observe. If after the initial exam your child appears to be ok, keep a close watch for any unusual behavior for at least an hour. If they cry for a prolonged period of time, begin vomiting, or display any odd behavior page your doctor or take them in.

When to Take Your Child to the ER

If your baby experiences any of the following, take them to ER right away as it could be a sign of a serious injury.

  • Dilated pupils or unusual eye movements
  • Blood or clear fluid leaking from the ear canal or nose
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Vomiting
  • Signs of a broken bone, open wound that requires stitches, or head injury.

If you are concerned that your child may have experienced a serious internal injury or skull fracture, do not hesitate to page your doctor immediately. Most of the time they can determine over the phone if you should take your child into the ER or just monitor closely at home.

Remember, accidents happen to everyone so don’t beat yourself up if a fall does occur. Take preventive measures to avoid falls by always keeping your hand on baby at all times while changing or on any surface above the ground. Pillows aren’t enough to prevent a baby from rolling out of the bed and pose a risk of suffocation. Do not leave your baby unattended in a big bed. You may not be able to keep your child from falling once they start learning how to walk. These guidelines will help you determine the steps to take if your baby falls.

Further Reading: Baby Proofing Guidelines

Reference: http://www.parents.com/advice/babies/health/what-should-i-do-if-my-baby-falls-and-hits-her-head/

 

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