“Help! I dropped my baby!”
This is certainly one of the scariest situations you will ever encounter. An infant is delicate, and when you drop them, you fear that it could cause damage or even take their life. However, you should know that dropping a baby is something that will happen to all parents at least once. The first few seconds after the fall is critical.
Dropping your baby was a complete accident, and you feel guilty. You must push away all your guilt and focus on the infant and their needs. Don’t ever move the child until you see that they are okay. In the instance that there would be some spinal or neck problems, you want to let an EMT stabilize the child to prevent further damages. Thankfully, children are much more resilient than we imagine, but it’s better to err on the side of caution.
Accessing the Situation
Dropping a baby is scary, but as a parent, you need to take control of the situation. First, compose yourself. If you’re in a state of panic, your child can feel that angst. They will feed off your fears, and it can make the situation worse.
Examine the child and the location of the fall. If the infant fell on carpeting or another softer surface, the chances of significant damage decrease. A fall on a concrete or wood floor brings more significant risks.
How far did the child fall? Smaller distances are always better. Did they roll off the bed, which is only a couple feet, or did you drop your baby from the standing position? The distance of the fall matters greatly.
The assessments must be done in split-second timing to ensure you get help if needed. The primary goal is to comfort the child and ensure they are not critically injured. If the fall was from a higher place, they fell really hard, or you are worried there are damages due to the circumstances, call for help immediately.
Is the Child Crying?
Though no mother wants to hear their child scream, after dropping your baby, their cries for help are a welcomed sound. Many times, a fall will knock the wind out of the infant, or they are hurt and cannot respond. Crying is a normal reaction. The intensity of their cries can also let you know how badly they are hurt. Most of the time, after dropping a baby, they will scream intensely, but then they will settle down. If they are bawling and there is no stopping in sight, it lets you know how bad they are hurt. If the child isn’t crying at all and is none responsive, then call 911 immediately.
Is the Child Bleeding or Do They Other Injuries?
If the child hit any blunt objects or a hard floor, it can significantly add to their injuries. Is there any blood on the child or around the area? Does an arm or leg appear to be out of the socket? Make sure there are no compound fractures where the bones are sticking through the skin.
There may be a little blood from teeth biting through the lips or from hitting an item. Has a large bump appeared at the location of the injury? Some minor wounds come with bumps, scrapes, and a little blood. Dropping a baby may have some small impacts, but don’t panic if you see any blood. You need to identify where the blood is coming from and then treat the problem.
Is There Infant Brain Damage?
In most cases, dropping your baby is not going to produce anything that even warrants a trip to the pediatrician’s office. However, you should know that the most common cause of infant brain trauma and disability is a fall in the home. As a parent, you know that you must be on the lookout for infant brain damage. If your child fell, and they have not acted right since the fall, they need to be evaluated. Even though you may not see blood or broken bones, it doesn’t mean that there isn’t a problem. Here are signs of brain injury after dropping a baby:
- Stiff Neck
- Large Masses on Head
- Distorted Facial Expressions
- Abnormally Fussy
- Sensitive to Lights
- Sleeping Longer Than Normal
- Black or Blue Coloring Around the Eyes
- Clear Fluids Coming from The Nose
- Difficulty Walking – for Older Infants
- Slurred Speech
- Slow or Shallow Breathing
If the baby is vomiting and or having seizures, make sure to turn them on their side. You don’t want to move the neck, so make sure to turn them gently. Dropping a baby can trigger seizures when there is brain damage.
Dropping a baby only produces serious injuries ten percent of the time; however, it’s something you must be aware of. A concussion is a common head injury that comes from a blow to the head area. When the brain bounces and hits the skull, it causes a bleed. It’s not always easy to tell that an infant has suffered from a brain bleed but using the symptom checker above can help. Any significant hit to the head should be evaluated for a concussion.
Dropping a baby from a higher location can certainly cause concern for a skull fracture. Because the skull hasn’t finished developing, it leaves them at a greater risk for this type of injury. Look for a recessed area on the head or any clear fluids coming out of the nose, eyes, or ears. There may also be some bruising near the eyes or ears associated with this type of brain injury. If you see any of these signs, don’t move the baby. Call an ambulance for help in transporting to the hospital. One wrong move could cause permanent brain damage.
Prevention Is the Key to Home Safety
Most accidents happen in or around the home. Dropping a baby is scary, but 90 percent of these mishaps have no substantial effect on the child. Don’t beat yourself up because an infant wiggles a lot, and falls are imminent. However, you should be proactive to prevent injuries in your home.
- Prop a baby on a full-size bed with pillows
- Place a car or bouncy seat on a higher surface to secure baby
- Put tight fitting sheets and mattress pads on baby’s bed
- Leave electrical outlets open
- Letting an infant sleep in a baby crib when they are continually climbing out
Dropping a baby is something that can happen to anyone. Just do your best to make sure your home is safe to ensure that something like this doesn’t happen again.