What to do in the event of a fall

Babies are fairly resilient, as bones are still soft and a bit more elastic than an adult’s, so that falls onto soft surfaces rarely result in fractures (e.g. from a bed to a carpeted floor).

It is however helpful to know what to do in the event that your little one does have a fall.

Immediately after a fall:

  • Comfort your baby and carefully feel and examine the whole body, running your fingers over the skull, clavicles, arms, torso and legs.
  • If your baby is conscious but irritable, try some sugar water i.e. 30ml of water with half a teaspoon of sugar. Give your baby a dose of paracetamol syrup (5ml of syrup for 10kg or 1 dropper measure of drops).
  • Allow your baby time to settle.
  • Sleepiness is not a worry and is part of recovery from the shock.

When to worry after a fall:

  • A significant fall, for example, from a table to a tiled floor. Note that immediate crying is reassuring
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Open wounds with possible underlying fractures as these will need immediate attention
  • Depressed fractures of the skull (like a dent in a ping pong ball)
  • Failure to move a limb as this might suggest a fracture
  • Persistent vomiting

Consult your doctor or take your baby to the nearest emergency unit if he / she fails to settle or if any of the above worries persist.

Dr Martin Bailey