Everyone has heard someone joke about a person being dropped on the head as an infant, a remark that is used to explain why a person does something stupid. While it seems funny, children actually do get dropped, both on their heads and other parts of their bodies. They also fall off furniture, such as changing tables or couches, and they can sustain major injuries.
Much of what happens when the baby falls depends on how high they fell from and how they landed. Babies may sustain superficial injuries, such as bruises or cuts, or they may break a bone or have a major internal injury.
Unfortunately, babies do get dropped or fall, and parents panic when it happens. It’s normal to be concerned since so much can go wrong, but there’s no way to fully avoid every possible accident. That’s why it’s important that parents know what to look for after their child is dropped. Should they go to the ER? Call the pediatrician? Keep their child awake? It all depends.
Researchers that the incidents on this list are the most common outcomes when babies are dropped or somehow fall. They range from easily treatable problems to life-altering issues. There’s no way to know when a child takes a spill how it will turn out, so knowing what can happen is important. It will help a parent notice signs that shouldn’t be ignored. Of course, the best thing to do is try not to drop the baby, but if it happens, the next best thing to do is know what to expect.
15 Broken Heart, Broken Bones
When a child is dropped, parents often look for head injuries immediately. This is understandable, but many parents forget that more can be hurt on their children than just their heads. Babies have more bones than adults do at birth, and any one of them can break after a nasty fall or drop.
It’s important for parents to check a child’s arms and legs, as well as making sure tiny ribs didn’t crack. Doctors say that a good clue to figure out where a child is injured is to see what part of their bodies they won’t move. If an arm is broken, the child will likely to try keep it as still as possible in the hopes that it won’t hurt as much.
14 Cricks In The Wrong Places
When a baby falls, he can cause injuries to his neck. Landing in a way that twists the neck into an uncomfortable position can cause an aching that leaves the baby cranky and upset for days.
It’s important for a child who is still in obvious discomfort to be seen by a doctor. If everything is okay and doctors say it’s just a matter of time, some parents then choose to see a chiropractor. There are chiropractors who work specifically on children, and they can gently manipulate a child’s tiny body to help ease the discomfort.
Other parents choose to wait it out, offering their child whatever is appropriate for pain based on the child’s age. Neck pain can last for a while, and if a parent notices the child isn’t turning his head, it may be time to take him back in to get a second opinion.
13 Bleeding In The Worst Way
Children can have brain hemorrhages after being dropped, and this is a horrible situation. If a baby is dropped, or if mom’s stomach is even hit while the baby is in the womb, brain hemorrhages can occur, and they aren’t always easy to diagnose in babies.
Infants can’t tell us if they are dizzy or having strange symptoms, but what to look for in these cases is the baby losing consciousness, being lethargic, or having seizures. None of these signs should be ignored. A brain hemorrhage is one of the worst outcomes of a fall or of the baby being dropped, and they can also occur due to birth injuries.
Surgery may be required in the case of a brain hemorrhage, and while that is a horrifying thought, not treating a hemorrhage will have a much worse outcome. This is a nightmare situation, and it needs to be handled quickly so it doesn’t get even worse.
12 All The Red Everywhere
It’s hard to see babies bleed, but if they are dropped then that is likely what will happen. If a baby lands on the head or face, blood may start spewing from his nose or mouth. Even though most infants don’t have teeth for the first several months of life, they can still bust their lips.
It’s possible for a baby to simply bump his nose and have it bleed, but he can also break the nose. There will be tons of blood and quite a bit of swelling if he has. The nose may also have a crooked, off center look if broken.
A child may need stitches if the gashes are so large that the skin won’t come back together on its own. Otherwise, getting the bleeding to stop and applying ice to help the swelling go down are the priorities. Babies will also need to be consoled because hitting their faces hard enough to draw blood is very painful.
11 No Response
If a child is unresponsive or unconscious, mom and dad need to call 911. Even if the child didn’t fall that far or was only dropped from a small distance off the ground, an unconscious baby is nothing to mess around with.
It’s imperative that mom and dad take the child in immediately and that they don’t leave him alone. Even if a child only loses consciousness for a moment, he still needs to be seen and treated. Landing hard enough to be knocked out is a sign that something serious may be wrong, and even without other symptoms present, being knocked out is a reason to seek help.
Babies may also seem momentarily dazed, with their eyes not focusing or able to follow mom or dad. The look they wear may not be one of complete unconsciousness, but it isn’t their normal, attentive face. This falls under the category of possible passing out, and it should be treated the same as if the baby was unconscious.
10 Black And Blue
Bruises are one of the most common injuries that babies sustain when dropped. They may be blue or purple, but they will appear wherever the baby landed and seem to take forever to fade. Bruises on the face look especially horrific and are very hard to conceal.
Bruises may be sore to the touch for days, and that means a baby may be fussy or sore when being held. It’s important for parents to be careful and gently handle their children at all times, but they need to be super aware of the bruises and try to hold their children in a way that won’t hurt them.
Bruises with cuts on top can be extra difficult to deal with, and it’s important for mom and dad to watch any cuts to make sure they don’t become infected. Luckily, bruises usually don’t need to be treated and will heal on their own.
9 Judgments From All
Even if people don’t see us drop our children, we still receive judgment if their injuries are easily seen. While decent parents who simply had an accident shouldn’t have to deal with the scornful eyes of strangers, they often do. Some parents may even fear a neighbor calling Child Protective Services on them.
Kids fall and are hurt all the time, but people who don’t know mom and dad may think that a very tiny baby’s injuries are a sign of abuse or neglect. It’s a difficult situation because we want people to pay attention and to be concerned about kids who truly are abused or neglected. At the same time, we don’t want to be questioned over an accident that we already feel horrible about.
8 Unexpected Response
Parents think of epilepsy when they think of a child having seizures, but another reason these scary attacks occur are head injuries. It’s possible for a child who is dropped on the head to experience brain trauma that causes a seizure, and mom and dad need to have the child seen immediately if this happens.
There’s a possibility that a child will have a lone seizure after being dropped and not have another one, but there’s also the chance that being dropped will lead to multiple seizures that mom and dad can’t stop. It’s necessary for a child to be tested using CT scans or MRIs to determine what is causing the problem and how it can be controlled or remedied.
7 Upchuck Emergency
With infants, it’s not always easy to tell why they are vomiting. They sometimes spit up after eating, and teething or a stomach virus may also upset their stomachs enough to cause vomit. However, vomiting can also occur in infants after they are dropped or fall, especially if they hit their heads.
Vomiting after a head injury is a sign that mom and dad don’t need to ignore. Instead of putting their child to sleep to see if he feels better upon waking, they need to see a doctor. Children who hit their heads vomit afterwords in about ten percent of cases. It’s usually not a sign of significant brain damage, but it’s still necessary to have it checked out.
If a child is vomiting uncontrollable, make sure they stay conscious and get help. If they just vomit once, still take them in for a check up. Better safe than sorry, especially if the head is involved.
6 Abilities Altered
In very rare cases, being dropped will cause learning delays because of the damage to a child’s brain. This is not common, but it can occur. When a child hits their head this hard, there will likely be signs, such as a concussion, vomiting, or loss of consciousness. They may bleed from their eyes or be completely inconsolable.
What follows after testing and diagnosis is usually close observation of a child’s development. If there are obvious delays in normal developmental functioning, a child may need special interventions. They may also need surgery or treatment to deal with acute problems, such as a brain hemorrhage.
These kinds of delays are usually a result of brain hemorrhages and don’t happen often, but parents who notice changes in the way their child is behaving need to follow up with a doctor to make sure all is well.
5 Retinal Distress
Brain injuries can result in eye problems, and brain injuries are often caused by falls or being dropped on the head. Parents often forget that eyes can be harmed, and once they look to make sure arms and legs are broken, they move on. If there are no visible bruises, it’s easy to assume that there are no problems.
However, eyes can be harmed if the brain is harmed, and that’s why many parents take their children in to be seen after head hits. Even if they aren’t showing symptoms, brain problems may lead to retinal detachment, hemorrhages, or nerve damage. A child may even bleed from their eyes after hitting the head, and that is a sure sign that a child needs to be checked.
4 Below The Surface
Internal injuries are difficult to figure out unless parents have a medical background. Even then, children often need CT scans or MRIs after major falls so doctors can get a true view of what is happening inside the body. Undiagnosed internal injuries can kill or cause permanent damage to a child.
Ribs can be broken, brains can hemorrhage, and other things under the skin can go awry. Even a child’s vision or hearing can be compromised. Children who are very upset or not acting like themselves need to be seen so proper tests can be ordered.
Many internal injuries can be treated, though a child may have some damage that is permanent if their internal injuries occur in the brain. The problem is when the injuries go unnoticed because the outside looks okay and no one digs any deeper to find out what is wrong.
3 Early Loss
In rare cases babies do die from being dropped. When children are dropped from very high up, or if they experience blunt-force trauma to the head when they fall, they can experience a brain injury that is so severe that they die.
It’s also possible for a baby with a brain injury to pass away if they have an undiagnosed brain bleed. Mom and dad may not know anything is wrong, but if a brain hemorrhage isn’t dealt with, a baby can succumb quickly. That’s why paying attention to the signs and cues a baby gives right after falling or being dropped is so important.
Parents need to follow their instincts and not worry about looking paranoid if they are worried about their child after they are dropped. It’s better to take a child to the hospital and hear that everything is fine than to go against an instinct and regret that decision.
2 Never-ending Rage
Babies cry a lot, and that’s what makes it hard to know how bad they’ve been hurt after being dropped. Are they just scared because it happened, or is there some internal injury that we’re missing? Do they have a mild bruise that they aren’t sure how to handle, or did they break a rib?
A baby who is inconsolable is hard to figure out, but if they absolutely cannot be calmed down, they need to be seen by a doctor. Broken bones, internal bleeding, and other brain injuries can hide under the surface. Babies cry for a reason, and a baby who is only crying out of fear or surprise will calm down after being comforted by mom and dad for a bit. Even a child who has bruises or cuts won’t scream for hours. That’s why an inconsolable baby is a sign that something is going on that needs to be seen about.
The situation every parent wishes for is one that often occurs. A baby is dropped, and nothing of major consequence happens. Sure, the child will likely still cry because of the shock of being dropped, but infants are resilient. Their bodies were designed to help them survive while being virtually helpless, and this is obvious when something occurs that logically should cause injury but doesn’t.
Many children walk, crawl, or are carried away from falls, accidents, and being dropped without bruises or cuts, all of their teeth and bones perfectly in tact. That’s why after the first accident, most parents don’t panic as much the next time. However, it’s not wise to become careless. Anytime a child is dropped, possible injuries can occur, so mom and dad still need to do everything possible to ensure that falls don’t happen.
It’s also important to remember that injuries can occur on the inside where mom and dad can’t see them. Pay attention to a baby’s cues to make sure there isn’t something more going on.
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