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If Your Child Falls Out of Bed, When Should You be Worried?

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Children older than 4 months are more likely to move, roll and turn which can be risked of falling out from the bed.
  • If your child falls out of bed and has symptoms of drowsiness, vomiting, spitting up, or if the child is whining or won’t wake up, you should take the child to see a doctor immediately.
  • The Bed should not be higher than 120 cm. and the gaps between your child’s bed railings should be no wider than 6 cm.

It is not uncommon for young children to fall out of bed, especially babies who are over 4 months old and have already become mobile. Parents are usually very frightened when this happens to a small child. Some babies will cry loudly when they fall out of bed, but then they will quickly cheer up and will soon return to their usual high spirits. In such cases, there is no need to worry. If this does happen to your child and then they have any of the following symptoms, take them to see a doctor immediately:

  • If your child falls out of bed and has symptoms of drowsiness, vomiting, spitting up, or if the child is whining or won’t wake up, this could be a sign of brain injury and you should take the child to see a doctor immediately.
  • If your child has been cut or is bleeding, take him or her to see a doctor immediately.
  • Other symptoms, such as refusing to be fed, similar to when the child has a stomach ache, might indicate damage in the abdomen (e.g. to the liver or spleen). Sometimes abdominal trauma can also cause reddish faded urine, which indicates possible damage to the bladder.
  • If your child cannot move his arms or legs, this could be a sign of a bone, joint or muscle injury.

Observing Symptoms and Initial Treatment

If your child has symptoms of swelling, bruising, or a bump on the head, with crying then sudden pauses, apply a cold compress to the area of the swelling. Observe the symptoms for a period of 24-48 hours, and if there are no further symptoms after 24 hours, apply a warm compress to the same area. If there are further symptoms after 24 hours, however, such as excessive and unusual crying, vomiting, drowsiness, or if your child spits up, take your child to see a doctor immediately.

If you wish to give your child painkillers, use paracetamol, as this is safer for them than other types of painkillers. However, if after taking painkillers your child is still crying and still in pain, and their condition is not improving, take them to see a doctor immediately.

Risk Factors of Bed Falls

  • Leaving a child alone who is over the age of 4 months. Normally when children reach this age, they start learning how to turn themselves over. However, even if your child is younger than 4 months old and is not yet as mobile, you should not get complacent. Keep your baby in sight at all times.
  • Unsuitable beds, such as beds without guards or beds with rails that are too wide.
    • Beds that are higher than 120 cm. If a child falls from a high bed, it increases the risk of bleeding in the brain.
    • Beds that have gaps, rails or holes wider than 6 cm. Your baby may be able to put his or her arms or legs through the gaps, but their head may get stuck. Moreover, if your child’s legs cannot reach the floor, accidents such as self-strangulation can happen, which can be fatal.

Prevent Your Baby from Falling Out of Bed

  • Your child’s bed or cot should have guards on all 4 sides and each guard should be tightly locked. This is to prevent the child from bumping into the guard and working it loose, which may then allow the child to fall out of bed.
  • The gaps between your child’s bed railings should be no wider than 6 cm. You can place a sheet or pillow against the outside of the railings to prevent the child from putting his or her arms or legs through the cot or bed.
  • Use a low-lying place for sleeping, such as a mattress on the floor.
  • Do not let your child sleep alone. Parents or guardians should have their child in sight at all times.

Many parents may think that their child is unlikely to fall out of bed, but this type of accident is more common than you might think. As a parent, you only need to be complacent for a split second. If your child falls out of bed, the complications can be serious. So to prevent your child from being caught up in an accident, never let them out of sight or leave them alone, and always use a suitable bed. Accidents cannot be foreseen, but they can be prevented.


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