At 6 months old, Autumn is now into everything! Unfortunately, accidents happen, even if you are supervising your baby or child. Here is what happened to us on Wednesday when Autumn fell on her head, resulting in our first visit to Accident and Emergency (A&E) with her. I felt so guilty!
It was just a normal morning
On Wednesday morning, I brought Autumn downstairs. I popped her on the sofa while I put the kettle on to make her porridge. I literally didn’t look away from her for any more than a second in case she fell. Seeing her looking at the cat on the footrest of the seat next to her, I saw her start to reach out. I want to let her have a good relationship with the cat, so I sometimes let her stroke her gently a couple of times. It’s always supervised, then I clean her hands afterwards. I rushed in from the kitchen so that I could keep a closer eye on them. Autumn was now on her tummy. Most of her body was on the chair and I was right in front of her, watching her, so I thought there was no way she could fall off.
How the head injury happened
All of a sudden, she fell. I didn’t even have time to react, I felt so guilty. I watched the top of her head hit the laminate flooring. Her face went red and crumpled up as she began to cry. It was a strange cry, with odd little whimpering breaths. I felt worried, but tried to hold myself together. I cuddled her and told her it was okay, but she didn’t stop crying. For some stupid reason, I quickly texted Dave saying “Might have to go to hospital“. I then tried to find the number for the doctor’s but the sunshine was so bright that I couldn’t see my ‘phone’s screen. Due to a recent update, I didn’t know where to swipe it to brighten it without seeing it. “I don’t need this!” I thought. Eventually, I managed to do it and found the number.
Should I take her to hospital?
At first I called the doctor’s. In my worried state I couldn’t bear to wait for their silly automated message to tell me what I needed to press. “It’s okay darling, you’re going to be okay”, I said to Autumn. It was more to reassure myself than her I think. She was still crying. Giving up on the doctor’s, I called 111. The man on the ‘phone was very nice, but I could barely hear him so much. Holding Autumn on my shoulder and walking around calmed her down somewhat, but she kept still having bouts of crying. Going through various symptoms, I relaxed slightly as she hadn’t displayed any of the serious symptoms that can happen with head injuries. However, he advised taking her to A&E at our local hospital to get her checked out. My husband rushed home from work, not knowing entirely what was going on, and drove us there (I didn’t really feel up to driving in my worried state).
Arrival at Accident and Emergency
Going to the hospital concerned me, as it bring back strong memories. It was where we started with Autumn when she fell seriously ill last year and triggered the worst anxiety I’ve ever had. This caused me to almost be hospitalised myself. It also caused other issues, for example, I had to give up breastfeeding which was very upsetting for me and I even strongly hated Autumn’s name. To be honest, I’ve always found hospitals quite anxiety provoking places anyway. We got signed in fairly quickly, to my relief, and were send through to the children’s emergency department.
The waiting area
When we got to the waiting area, we were surprised to find that there was nobody else in there. They had a tube with colours, bubbles and plastic fish. Autumn liked these when we went to sensory play the first time and it calmed her down the second time. We showed her it and she was mesmerised. Dave and I were about to sit down when a nurse called us through. We’d only been there about a minute!
Checking health after a head injury
The nurse was lovely and told me not to blame myself for what happened. Accidents happen, after all. She checked Autumn’s blood pressure and eyes. She told us that she could see no obvious signs of injury and that she was bright as a button. The nurse gave us a leaflet about things that are normal with head injuries and things that you have to look out for. She said it’s handy to have, as this won’t be last time she hits her head. Shortly afterwards, we were called through by a doctor. He checked the same things as the nurse, as well as feeling her head and listening to her heartbeat with a stethoscope. She was also given a stick to check her coordination. He had to whisk it away quickly, as she tried to eat it!
When the doctor said we could go, we went out into the waiting room (which was still empty). Small Potatoes was on CBeebies on the television and I sang the theme tune to Autumn. She smiled at me and Dave cuddled her before putting her back in the pram. Although she seemed to be slightly dazed when she first fell, she now seems to be back to her normal self. We were told to keep a close eye on her for the next couple of days.
Advice for when a baby or child has an injury
The leaflet we were given has a helpful traffic light system. I’ll definitely be keeping this in a safe place for future reference. You may wish to share this post to make others aware and bookmark it!
Green: Low Risk
If your child:
- Cried immediately (after head injury) but is otherwise normal
- Is alert and interacts with you
- Has not been ‘knocked out’
- Has been sick but only once
- Has bruising or minor cuts to their head
- Has a large swelling but otherwise meets all of the criteria above in this column
If all the above have been met then manage at home following the advice overleaf or if you are concerned contact your GP practice when it is open or call 111 when your GP practice is not open
Amber: Immediate Risk
If your child:
- Has fallen from a height greater than the child’s own height or fallen from more than a metre or a yard and has no red high risk features
- Has been involved in a road traffic accident and has no red high risk features
- Has been deliberately harmed and is in need of medical attention
- Is under one year old
Seek immediate medical advice from your GP practice when it is open OR take your child to the nearest Hospital Emergency department if ANY of these features are present
Red: High Risk
If your child:
- Is not their normal self
- Is sleepy and you cannot wake them
- Has been ‘knocked out’ at any time
- Has neck pain
- Has been sick 3 or more times
- Has difficulty speaking or understanding what you are saying
- Has weakness in their arms and legs or is losing their balance
- Has a convulsion or a fit
- Has had clear or bloody fluid dribbling from their nose, ears or both since the injury
- Cannot remember events around or before the accident
Phone 999 for an ambulance or go straight to the nearest Hospital Emergency department if ANY of these symptoms are present.
I hope you found this helpful, please share it if you did!