My Child Fell Down…Now What?
It’s pretty much a fact of life: kids fall. From the tumbles taken by babies learning to walk, to teens falling while playing sports, falls happen. But, what about when your baby or child falls from high up, or hits their head, or gets scrapes and cuts, or is in pain after a fall? In this blog we’d like to cover the things you should do whenever your child has a bad fall, so that next time one happens you know what to do. So, whether you have a baby or a teen, read on for some tips on what to do if your child falls.
As we said above, falling is a fact of life for kids. So, take your child’s lead. If your toddler fell down while trying to run, but gets right back up again and walks away, odds are very good that they’re fine. But, if your child is crying, or is not getting back up after a fall and looks like they’re in pain, it’s time for an assessment. After comforting your child (and remaining calm, they can sense if you’re scared which may make a child get more nervous themselves!), ask where it hurts, especially if you didn’t see the fall, so you can know where the point of impact was. Check for any cuts or scrapes. Bruises may be present but often develop later. If your child has hit their head, a bump may develop, especially on the forehead. In most cases there is no need to be alarmed.
Basic first aid
If your child has any bumps or bruises, an ice pack is a good idea both for some pain relief and to avoid swelling. Never place an ice pack directly on your child’s skin; instead, place a towel or other piece of cloth between the ice pack and your child. If your child has any scrapes or cuts from the fall, wash your hands, then wash the injury with cool or warm water to wash away any dirt or debris, and place a bandaid over the injury.
Beyond basic first aid: when to see a doctor
If your child has hit their head and is vomiting, or showing other signs of a concussion, such as loss of consciousness or mild lethargy, a trip to the doctor or urgent care is in order. Extreme lethargy, or not being able to be woken up after sleep, multiple episodes of vomiting, or other neurologic deficits (like slurred speech, weakness on one side of the body, or seizures), a thorough assessment in an ER is warranted. If your child has a hard time walking because of direct injury to a leg, ankle, or foot, he or she may have sustained a sprain or a broken bone. An x-ray is often needed to determine what’s going on. A fall from more than 4 feet off the ground also warrants a doctor’s assessment. Finally, if your child has a laceration or their bleeding won’t stop after about 10-15 minutes, bring them in to get checked out.
Knowing what to do if your child falls is an important part of parenting. We understand that falls can be scary for both parent and child alike. Hopefully, with these tips you’ll feel more prepared the next time your child falls. But, remember, you can always reach out to your pediatrician or local pediatric urgent care for advice and guidance.