I've been a parent now for just over two years - and in that time, I've dropped my kids more times than I care to admit. Yesterday, my poor (dear, sweet, generous) brother-in-law accidentally dropped my daughter on her head. She was sitting next to him on the couch and all of a sudden - she wasn't. Thud! He felt immense guilt and was visibly shaken. I, on the other hand, finished sending the email I was composing, scooped her up, and whipped out a boob for her to get some much-needed comfort. Soon enough she quieted down. (The night didn't end there, but I want this article to be helpful and not scary, so - read one!)
Once I missed an interview because Shep decided to start rolling and rolled right off the edge of our bed in our bedroom. The kid rebounded so quickly from the fall that we were convinced he was particularly sturdy. Turns out, most kids are just that resilient! Luckily my to-be manager had a newborn so he was a bit understanding. As a first-time mom, I spent the whole day freaking out and trying to convince my husband to take him to the ER. I didn't sleep a wink that night - I stayed awake to make sure he wasn't having concussion symptoms or aspirating on his own vomit. Remember when I said I had anxiety? Yeah. I wasn't kidding.
So, without further ado: OH CRAP! YOU DROPPED YOUR BABY!
First - don't freak out. There's almost never a serious concern or damage - almost never. Almost all babies have been dropped at one time or another and the vast majority are perfectly fine in the long run. If you baby fell from a height of 3-5 feet or more, that's when you need to be concerned and a bit more diligent in your once-over immediately after the fall.
But it's not just an immediate check - you also need to keep an eye on your kid for a few hours after (or, like me, get crazy and stay up all night watching them breathe). You want to check for bumps or bruises, move their limbs and make sure everything's okay and not causing them pain when touched.
A crying baby is a good sign! It means they're conscious. If the baby makes no noise after the fall, or is "passed out", seek immediate medical attention. Other signs of head injury you want to keep an eye out for: vomiting, slurring speech, lethargy, or inability to move a limb. If an arm or leg is broken, babies will instinctively refuse to move it and cry out when it's touched.
A good rule of thumb for concussion protocol is to check their pupil dilation every ten to fifteen minutes for the first hour or so, at least. Ideally, you want to see both pupils dilate equally and simultaneously when you shine a light on them. If the pupils don't move - they're "blown" or already maxed out, or they dilate at different rates, again - seek immediate medical attention.
Most importantly - DON'T FREAK OUT. Your panic will create tension and panic in your baby, which makes pain harder to bear and injuries harder to diagnose. Yes, the hospital might ask you questions to ensure the baby is in a safe environment. Don't be offended - be grateful they care enough about your baby to double check. And remember - you aren't the first parent who has ever dropped their baby. And you certainly won't be the last! Accidents happen. Don't beat yourself up too bad, because your baby will forget this ever happened and move on far more quickly than you will.
Have you ever dropped your baby? How old were they when they first took a scary tumble? Were you anxious like me and stayed up all night freaking out? Vent to me - @pi3sugarpi3