It's hard not to scream when you see your baby fall from her crib, bed or monkey bar at the playground. What is important, however, is you remain calm.
While falls can be serious, Dr. Faith Buenaventura-Alcazaren, MD, a pediatrician from Marikina Doctors Hospital and Medical Center and Perpetual Succor Hospital and Maternity, says a fall from a standard bed will most likely be non-fatal. But if it’s a newborn or pre-term baby, their delicate brain structures may cause bleeding in the brain.
If your baby gets into such accidents, Dr. Buenaventura-Alcazaren advises you to go over this checklist and administer first aid if needed.
Check if there are any open wounds sustained from the fall. Make sure to check from head to toe.
Don’t panic as the baby is already confused and most likely wants to be comforted.
Treat any sustained wounds by washing with soap and water.
If there were no sharp objects on the floor, your baby may have sustained a blunt injury that may cause some bruising. Check the head for bruising or bumps, the abdomen for any sign of enlargement, and her arms and legs if it can move symmetrically and are not limited by pain.
If baby is found unconscious, vomiting forcefully, is hard to wake, and his arms and legs do rhythmic jerking, bring him to the hospital immediately. He may be suffering from a bleed in the brain.
If the baby is crying, active and with no warning signs as stated above, you may forego a trip to the hospital but continue to observe your child for 24 hours. If the fall is higher than a regular bed, and if the injury has high impact (i.e. from jumping), Dr. Buenaventura-Alcazaren advises that you bring your child to the emergency room (ER) for a more thorough evaluation.
Don’t be afraid to let your baby sleep after a fall -- a short nap can restore energy and provide comfort after an emotional trauma. But if your baby is extra sleepy, and it’s hard for him to respond when you wake him, trust your instinct and bring him to the ER for evaluation -- he may be suffering from a concussion.
My baby seems to be fine but has a bump on his head. What can I do to help it subside? A bruise and bump will be relieved by a cold compress, says Dr. Buenaventura-Alcazaren. “I usually advise my patients to use ice cold water in a Ziploc instead of ice since it is more tolerable for the child. Elevate the injured area then let it stay for 10 minutes then reapply every now and then to decrease the swelling and pain.”
If your baby is getting bothered with the bump, paracetamol may be given as it is the safest medication to give a child in pain.
Accidents can and do happen, but keep a presence of mind. Try not to leave him on adult beds unsupervised, and always keep at least one hand on your baby when you’re placing him against any surface, like a changing table or bed, to prevent him from falling.