When Emma was younger, she had a few bumps and bruises along the way. We even went to the hospital when she was just a few weeks old. She is one tough cookie. I couldn’t believe how she could fall and then get back up. Babies are resilient and we don’t give them enough credit. Sure, they are fragile but they are also strong. God made them that way.
A few weeks ago, Emma was walking around the house holding onto everything in sight and tripped. It was a typical fall and I honestly didn’t think much of it. JR got to her first and when he picked her up I saw it. I was surprised that out of all the accidents along the way, this was the one that brought blood. Sure enough, Emma had blood gushing out of her mouth and her tears were inconsolable. It’s tough as a parent to see our kids hurt, especially when they don’t know how to express their pain. Luckily, the busted lip required no stitches or even a visit to the doctor, but it was definitely a scary moment. I wanted to share with you a few things to do (and not do) when your toddler gets hurt.
DO comfort them. Your child needs you to hold and love them. If it’s not life threatening, take a few seconds to just rock them and care for them. If there is a favorite toy, get that for them. For Emma, she did not want paby since she had a busted lip. Her next form of comfort is a bottle. We put some milk in a bottle and gave it to her and that calmed her down right away. It also gave her time to stop touching the cut and allow it to heal up.
DO stay calm. The last thing your crying, panicky baby needs is the same from you. We need to remain calm in not only what we say but how we act. It helps to stay calm not only for them, but for you. We can react and handle the situation much better if we take a few seconds to breath before making a decision.
DO keep an eye on the boo boo. Whether it’s a busted lip or a bump on the head, keep an eye on it. It may be fine at that moment, but you want to make sure it doesn’t get worse. With Emma, we gave him some Tylenol for pain since it was almost bedtime and checked the cut before she went to bed and then again in the morning before we went to work just to be sure. It also helps that I have a nurse for a mom who was able to tell us what to watch for and how to take care of her. Keep in mind that your child will probably be sore for the next few days. If you do pain medication, go ahead and give them some. For us, after the first dose of Tylenol, we moved to more self soothing methods. We tried to give her a bottle every few hours to numb her lip and that seemed to make a huge difference. After a full 24 hours she didn’t complain about it again.
DO listen to your gut. If you feel in your gut, not just in a moment of panic, that your child needs to go to the doctor or ER, then go. Don’t second guess that mommy or daddy intuition. It would be much better to go and be told nothings wrong than to not go and something go bad. You are the parent and you know what your child needs better than anyone else does.
DO NOT make the situation more than it is. A lot of this goes hand in hand with staying calm. When we panic, we make quick and usually unnecessary decisions. Sure, it would have been easy to load Emma up in the car and head to the nearest emergency room but for what? No stitches were needed and no teeth were loose. We would have left with a yucky bill and about three hours more time spent on the situation than necessary.
DO NOT cast blame. Keep in mind that we all make mistakes. It doesn’t matter if it’s mommy, daddy, mimi, or papaw’s watch. We all make mistakes and the last thing the person “in charge” needs is to be told is they messed up. For pete’s sake, they KNOW they messed up. We need to comfort them almost as much as we’re comforting our child. Watching your child get hurt on your watch is one of the worst things ever. EVER.
DO NOT go overboard. When your child falls, it’s easy to put padding around the house everywhere and lock your child in a 2×2 walking space with pillows, blankets, and soft toys all around them. Keep in mind that this won’t help anything. It’s different if you’re child stuck their finger in an electrical socket. If that’s the case, you need to cover that thing up. If it’s something that’s a natural part of a toddler’s life, like clumsiness, just be sure to do the necessary things to help (ie: take slippery things out of the floor, help them while they’re walking from time to time, etc) and realize this is part of being a child. It won’t be the first or the last time your child gets hurt. Unfortunately, this is a part of life.
So here are some rules we want to live by when it comes to Emma getting hurt. Our prayers are that she never gets hurt again but we also realize that’s a long shot. Our child is a wild woman who has no limits. Our role as parents is to keep her as safe as we can and let God do the rest.
How do you handle your child when they get hurt? Any things that work better than others?