It is not uncommon for babies to be prone to accidents despite the best efforts of the parents to prevent them. One such situation can be when the baby falls off the bed. Infants or toddlers who roll may often be more susceptible to falls from the bed, increasing the risk of injuries, such as head trauma.
The delicate skulls of the babies could be more likely to sustain injuries. Do not hesitate to consult a doctor if your baby falls from the bed, even if they appear alright. You must call the local emergency number if the baby shows signs of severe injuries after a fall.
Read this post to learn how to react when the baby falls off the bed, how to manage the situation for the next 24 hours, and when to seek emergency care.
What To Do First?
Sudden falls may cause babies to lose their consciousness. However, they quickly resume consciousness. Comfort the baby and check for signs of any injury such as scrape wounds and bumps. If your baby seems alright and does not display any distress, then they may not have injured themselves. You can still book a doctor’s appointment just to make sure your baby is doing fine. If your baby is less than a year old, then it is always best to call the pediatrician after the baby fell from the bed.
If your baby does not regain consciousness soon after a fall or develops a bleeding injury, it can be a medical emergency. You may observe the following steps (1).
- Call emergency services, such as 911, for immediate help.
- Let the baby lie straight on the floor and do not move the baby. If the baby has spine or neck injury along with head injury, then moving may worsen the injuries.
- Turn to the side and keep the neck straight if your baby has vomiting or seizure.
- If the baby is bleeding, apply gentle pressure with a gauze or a clean cloth on the bleeding area.
Try to comfort your baby if your baby has mild injuries until the emergency team arrives. Although the situation can be panicking, always be calm and observe the baby until they get emergency medical care.
When To Seek Emergency Medical Care?
Seek prompt emergency medical care if the baby shows the following signs and symptoms after a fall from the bed (2).
- Blood or fluid from nose or ears
- Bulging or swelling of the soft spot on the head
- Bleeding or bruising of the head
- Skull fracture
- Deformity on the body due to fracture
If any of the above signs are seen in your baby after a fall, do not pick them immediately. Call emergency services and let the baby lie on the floor or flat surface.
A mother of four, Julia Goolia, recalls an incident where her four-week-old son Truman fell out of a Maclaren rocker chair. She says, “He cried for a total of a minute or so, then drifted back to sleep but already had a small bump on his forehead.
“I called the doctor’s office and did my best to remain calm on the phone, but even the nurse could tell how upset I was. She informed me that they get tons of calls each day about babies hitting their heads, and it almost always turns out just fine. She gave me warning signs to watch for and said it sounded like he was okay since he cried and then calmed down and wasn’t acting out of the ordinary afterward. She wanted us to watch him for any of the symptoms of a head injury and just breathe since I was having difficulty with that task at the moment (i).”
What To Do For 24 Hours After A Baby Fell Off The Bed?
You may have to closely monitor your baby 24 hours after a fall since symptoms of some injuries may appear after a few hours. If you suspect that the baby might be injured themselves, even if they have no signs of injury, see a pediatrician.
Many babies tend to sleep after falling off the bed even though they have a concussion.You may try to wake them up every few hours to ensure that the baby can awaken from sleep. Seek immediate medical care if your baby has trouble waking up or sleeps unusually longer.
Babies may have behavioral changes after the tumble, such as being more fussy, irritable, or inability to self-soothe. Reddish tinge in urine color, refusal to eat, or development of a bluish-black spot on the skin may indicate internal injuries. Seek medical care if your baby has any of these signs and symptoms of injury.
How To Prevent A Baby From Falling Off The Bed?
The following tips could help prevent babies from the dangers of falling off the bed (1).
- Choose a baby bed or cot with guards on four sides. Use a baby bed no higher than 120cm.
- The gap between guard rails should be less than six centimeters. Also, make sure the guard rails are high enough to prevent the baby from climbing over.
- Choose bassinets and play yards with a low height or those that stay on the ground.
- Do not let your baby sleep on an adult bed, diaper changing tables, or other surfaces.
- Do not let the baby sleep in a baby stroller unattended. If possible, place the baby in their crib.
- Do not keep hard furniture or sharp objects near the baby’s crib.
Babies should preferably have their tummy time and other play on the floor. You can place a soft mattress or quilt to provide a soft surface for the baby to play. Check for the weight limit of diaper changing tables and prefer those with guard rails or edge bumpers that prevent baby from rolling over. Always have diapers and other required items within reach before placing the baby on the diaper table.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Can babies be traumatized after falling?
Yes. Babies can be traumatized after falling. Any incident that traumatizes older children and adults may also affect the babies. But it is not easy to figure out if they are in trauma as babies cannot express their feelings (3). So, continue to monitor the baby to see if they cry or have a frozen look as a shock response after the fall.
2. How to understand whether my baby is okay after falling and hitting their head?
If your baby has a mild head injury after a fall, they may have bruises on their head and vomit once. However, they will act normally, be alert, and interact with you. It is still advisable to seek your doctor’s advice to ensure they are okay (4).
3. Are there any long-term psychological effects of falling from bed?
Trauma to the head from a fall may cause cognitive fatigue. This can lead to behavioral issues, mood swings, and learning challenges in children. Signs include slower thinking, trouble focusing, memory issues, and difficulty expressing thoughts. If the child’s performance or behavior problems worsen, seek medical help (4).
4. Are there any medical tests that can be done to confirm or rule out potential trauma after a baby falls from a bed?
Medical professionals may carry out different diagnostic tests to assess trauma after a fall from a bed. These include an X-ray to detect any internal damage to the tissues and bones, an MRI and CT scan to obtain detailed internal images, and an electroencephalogram (EEG) to monitor the brain’s electrical activity (7).
Check with a doctor if your baby fell off bed and you suspect injuries or your baby acts fussy and does not respond to soothing. If they lose consciousness, show swelling, bruising, or bleeding from the head immediate medical attention is required. Choose the right sleeping environment for babies to prevent falls. For example, install guard rails around the bed and ensure the baby is not sleeping unattended in strollers or on diaper changing tables. Room-sharing can also help prevent falls and reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
Infographic: First Aid For A Baby Who Has Had A Head Injury
A sudden accident may cause head injuries to babies. It is essential to provide first aid immediately to ensure the injury does not have adverse repercussions. In this infographic, we share insights on the steps required to help a baby who is unresponsive after a head injury.
- In the event of a fall, look for any symptoms of injuries and make sure the baby is awake.
- If you notice signs of deformity or blood coming out, contact the doctor immediately.
- Take extra care for the next 24 hours post the fall.
- To avoid falls, don’t leave the infant alone on changing tables or adult beds for long periods of time.
Personal Experience: Source
- If Your Child Falls Out of Bed When Should You be Worried?
- What to Do If Your Infant Falls Off the Bed or Changing Table.
- Trauma and children – newborns to two years
- Head injury – general advice.
- How to Help Babies and Toddlers When They Fall
- Preventing falls in babies (0 to 12 months)
- Head Injury in Children