Head injury – baby’s first visit to A&E

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.

Banana baby porridge

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!

The aftermath

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!

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18 thoughts on “Head injury – baby’s first visit to A&E”

  1. I am so pleased that this has a good outcome, you really shouldn’t feel guilty as accidents happen so quickly and to the best of us, saying that I am proud to say that in 14 years as working as a registered child minder I have never had to take a child to hospital #diydaddylinky@_karendennis

  2. That’s brilliant 🙂 I still have no idea how it happened, as I was right in front of her so that she didn’t fall off and her whole body was on the sofa! I’m even more careful with her on the sofa now than I already was.

  3. It’s terrifying! I always used to debate whether or not to take them to hospital, but I don’t hesitate now. I’m so glad she’s ok now. Thanks for linking up to #ThatFridayLinky

  4. You did all the right things and got Autumn checked over as soon as possible, well done Mummy. Joshua fell out of the cot when he was 11 months old and we spent the whole night keeping a check on him but we still took him to get checked out the next day. I hope this isn’t the first of many trips to A & E for you but I somehow think it will not be a one-off lol!

  5. Ahh so scary but really pleased Autumn is ok. It really shows that it doesn’t matter how careful or vigilant you are, accidents are still going to happen. That traffic light info is really useful, I should print that off and keep it by the plasters!Thanks for linking up to #BlogCrush xx

  6. Its a horrible inevitable thing the accidents you see happening but are too late to stop. Glad she was OK in the end, better to get checked out just in case. The traffic light system is a great guide I’ve never seen that before so thanks for posting that. #ThatFridayLinky

  7. Thanks Fiona! Something tells me it won’t be either, unfortunately! I’m sure she’ll get up to all sorts of mischief as she grows which will result in us going back there. It’s scary isn’t it? They’re so little you worry they’re seriously hurt, but they seem to be great at bouncing back! x

  8. I thought so too, I hadn’t seen it elsewhere so I thought I’d type it up from the leaflet in case it helped anyone else! 🙂 Thanks, I really don’t know how it happened. I’m not putting her on the sofa anymore unless hubby or I are literally holding her after that! xx

  9. Thank you 🙂 I’d never seen it before either, so I thought I’d type it up from the leaflet as I thought it could help someone else!

  10. I’m so pleased she is is ok it’s a difficult decision I always think if it’s a doubt get it checked Thanks for linking to the #THAT FRIDAY LINKY come back next week please

  11. Oh dear !! Charley recently had a bad fall at home and cut her head open and i felt the same way. Charley is walking about and tripped over her own foot so there is nothing i could have done but i still had major mummy guilt. #PostsFromTheHeart

  12. glad that everything is OK, and as a hospital worker, glad that you had a good experience there. Mine had her first trip this week too – 7 stitches across the bottom of her jaw. Its tough to see them go through it, but like you say, it happens #anythinggoes

  13. What a worrying ordeal for you all – unfortunately accidents happen (I’ll be absolutely papping myself when it does with my baby and I know it will, wish I could just wrap him up in cotton wool!) such great advice you’ve given- we should all learn this stuff!! #anythinggoes

  14. That must have been so scary! I’m really glad to hear that she’s ok
    Thanks for linking up to #AnythingGoes 🙂

  15. Thanks for sharing this. We recently had our first tumble off the sofa and it broke my heart. I think I was crying more than she was. The guilt is the worst thing. It’s about coming to terms with the fact that you are not the worst mum in the world and that you are only human (so my husband kept reminding me). You have a beautiful little girl. Glad to hear she is okay.

  16. Thank you, it’s so hard for us when these things happen. We beat ourselves up about for ages! Your husband is absolutely right.

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