Babies are prone to severe injuries or head trauma if they fall from the bed, regardless of the height of the bed or mechanism of the fall. As babies grow older and begin to roll, their risk of falling from the bed becomes higher.
Infants have delicate skulls, and any fall has the potential to cause head injuries. It is best to seek medical opinion even for minor falls that cause injury. Call your local emergency number if your baby has signs of severe injury or becomes unconscious.
Read this post to know more about what to do if your baby fell off the bed, when to seek emergency care, and how to prevent falls from the bed.
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. 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 a year old, then it 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.
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 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 fall, 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 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.
Falls from the bed can be prevented by choosing the right sleeping environment for the baby. Place the crib in your room (room-sharing) since it lets you and the baby see each other. The right crib and room-sharing can prevent falls and reduce the risk of SIDS (3). You cannot foresee accidents, but you can avoid it by appropriate safety measures.
2. What To Do If Your Infant Falls Off The Bed Or Changing Table; Cleveland Clinic
3. How to Keep Your Sleeping Baby Safe: AAP Policy Explained; American Academy of Pediatrics