Becoming a new mom makes you suddenly aware of every danger there ever was or could be. A superpower comes over you, and you understand and identify with the term “mama bear.” You do all you can to wrap your little bundle in a protective cocoon, but now and then, something bad happens no matter how diligent you’ve been. Sometimes mom (or dad) has a moment of morality and drops, yes drops, the new baby. It’s always a horrifying moment for every parent it has happened to.
This accident has happened and will continue to happen for the rest of time because babies learn to move. And moving leads to rolling and tripping and falling and, yes, dropping from a seemingly safe place. While it is relatively common, dropping your baby can be dangerous and lead to injury, so here are some things to look for and do if this accident should happen to you.
1. Stay calm
Dropping a baby is shocking. You can’t believe it just happened! Your baby is probably doing the cry that starts silent and then becomes the horrible, gut-wrenching cry. Stay calm. You are probably more upset than they are, but this is a critical time to react appropriately. Becoming hysterical will make your baby’s response worse.
2. Pick baby up and check for obvious injuries
Take your time checking the baby over, ensuring not to overlook the wrists and collarbone area for bruising.
3. Lumps on the head
Lumps and bumps on the head are not necessarily reasons for an ER trip, and very few cases call for a CT scan.1 Call your pediatrician to ask what they recommend, and always follow your parenting instinct. If you think you should go to ER, GO! It also depends on the severity of the fall, how high up the baby was, and what surface the baby landed on. But as long as the baby is acting fine once they calm down, they probably are.
4. No food
Do not feed them right after a fall since they will still be upset and might even become sick to their stomach.
5. Things that aren’t right
- Number one thing: the baby is not crying or doesn’t open their eyes after the fall
- Losing consciousness
- Bleeding from the nose, ears, or mouth
- Persistent vomiting
- Irritability and excessive sleepiness
These are a few indications that something isn’t right.
Top 3 reasons people accidentally “drop” babies
Technically, most baby “dropping” incidents aren’t babies being dropped at all. Most of the time, a fall occurs because the baby has learned to roll, and they roll off:
- the changing table
- a bed
- a parent
Tips to prevent falls
- Purchasing a changing table with stable guardrails at least 2 inches in height on all four sides will help decrease the likely hood of a fall.
- A concave changing surface with a slightly lower center than the outer sides will help keep baby centered and make it harder for them to roll.
- Purchasing a changing table or changing mat with safety straps will keep baby in place but not on the table, so do not leave baby unattended. They could still fall off the changing table.
- Keep all diaper-changing items near the table so you don’t have to leave the baby unattended.
- Keep one hand on baby while they are on the bed.
- Ensure there are no dangerous items on the bed or the floor next to the bed that the baby could fall on.
- Check all bedding, making sure baby can’t get tangled in blankets.
- Remember, pillow barricades are ineffective in keeping a baby on a bed.
- Also, never put baby on any elevated surface in a car seat or bouncy seat, even if they are strapped in.
Rolling off of a parent
- Stay aware whenever holding the baby.
- Do not fall asleep with baby on your chest.
- If co-sleeping keeps baby in their safe and separate space on your bed.
Carrying on stairs
Carrying a baby on the stairs can feel like a tightrope walk. Take your time and watch for any items left on the stairs that could cause a fall. Elderly family members or anyone who may be a little unstable on their feet shouldn’t carry the baby up and down the stairs for both their safety. Once baby is mobile, making sure the stairs are blocked off will prevent the baby from climbing them on their own.
Accidents happen. When they do, don’t panic, check baby over, and ALWAYS call the doctor when you feel like you should. Parenting is hard, and we won’t always get it right or perfect. Staying aware of possible dangers, never being in a rush when holding the baby, and trying our best to keep them as safe as possible will hopefully keep these accidents few and far between.