My Toddler’s Broken Arm: What we learned- September 14, 2015
My son broke his arm two weeks ago. He’s okay now. My tiny toddler rocks his tiny, rock hard cast. I’ll admit it’s adorable, but the whole ordeal was terrifying. I don’t want your kid to break anything, so please read on.
I had gotten Henry ready for church in a cute little short-all outfit that’s getting too small for him at the end of summer. I put him in his crib with his trucks and made him stay there before heading down the hall to dress my daughter. This pissed him off big time. I heard him wailing as I turned the corner even after I promised to be fast. It was a few seconds before I heard a very loud boom and agonizing screams. I knew he had fallen out. The second I picked him up I knew his arm was broken. It had this curvy, limp and downright gag worthy appearance. I think my exact words were, “Oh God! Oh God!” I carried him running into the bathroom where my husband was getting ready. “He broke his arm!” Greyson agreed with me after wincing at his curved right forearm.
We went into crisis mode. I clutched my sweet babe while Greyson got dressed. We yelled to Charlotte to get dressed. I told her what happened. Like a little champ, she understood the seriousness of the situation and got her clothes on by herself. Our neighbor rushed over to watch Charlotte while we carefully loaded him in his car seat. I promised her she could wear her friend’s shoes when she got to her house because I couldn’t find one of hers. She was delighted to leave the house barefoot but was worried for her baby brother. Greyson loosened the straps to get him in without further hurting his arm. Poor little guy kept looking at it an saying “Ow!” I sat in the back with him to make sure he was okay. I didn’t see the fall. Did he hit his head? I didn’t want him to fall asleep.
If you take anything away from this story, let it be this:
I read somewhere that it’s a good idea to call the pediatrician if you are on the way to the emergency room with your child. I can’t remember where I read this advice, but it was somewhere on the Internet. For Internet advice, it turned out to be invaluable. The idea behind this is that doctors listen to other doctors. I hastily called our pediatrician and got the weekend on-call nurse. She redirected me to the proper children’s emergency department in our area and called to let them know we were on our way. Greyson dropped me off, carrying Henry through the front entrance of the ER. There was a line at check-in. Ugh!
That’s when the pediatrician’s call paid off. A nurse pointed at me and said, “Are you the crib fall? Let’s go!” She led us immediately into a room.
Okay, so I didn’t love being identified as “the crib fall.” As if I didn’t feel guilty enough, already. When the nurses and doctor asked us multiple questions about what happened, it was clear they were assessing if there was any abuse in the home. I get it. It’s their job, but that did nothing for the guilt. They also labeled him as a “Fall Risk.” “Fall Risk,” you don’t say?
Henry has three greenstick fractures. Picture trying to break a stick that’s fresh or still green. That’s often what baby/toddler bones are like when they break.
The next six hours were filled with more questions, awkward x-rays with lots of thrashing and pacifying my toddler with episodes of “Thomas and Friends” and “Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.” Small doses of pain medicine kept him calm since he couldn’t eat or drink anything for HOURS, and he was in pain. It was awful. I felt so bad for him. At least we got in some extra snuggles at the hosptial.
Greyson and I took turns sneaking in the hall to drink some water and eat a crappy sandwich without him seeing. The delay was working with orthopedics and ER doctors. Finally some very nice ortho PA’s took care of him and we left. He got his referral to the orthopedic for later in the week. We left.
Now to the issue of the crib:
We discussed moving him to a toddler bed but still being under age 2, I didn’t feel like he was ready. The ER doctor agreed. Henry is a jittery sleeper. He doesn’t sleep through the night. Clearly he doesn’t sit still or want to stay in bed. We went over options. First thing we did when we got home was to check the crib. We had lowered it previously and thought it was all the way down. It wasn’t. It had one more rung to go! Ugh! How could we have missed that?! More guilt. It’s on the lowest level possible, now. Read your crib’s owner’s manual to make sure it’s on the lowest setting! I did hear of someone just putting the mattress on the floor and taking out the bottom part of the crib. That was not considered a safe option for our particular crib. Again, check your manual. Also, I’m almost positive he stepped on his Thomas the Tank Engine stuffed animal/pillow/cushion thing to get himself out. Lesson learned there. No pillows and big stuffed animals in the crib!
I thought about getting one of those”crib tent” netting things. Apparently they have been an entrapment and strangulation risk since 2012. I’m still not ruling it out. Other moms have told me they use them. I’m also considering a sleep sack, but I worry he’ll trip and smash his face into the rail or something.
Then I turned the crib around. It’s a convertible crib with the high side being the future headboard once the bed is converted. The lower side is now against the wall and the high side is out, adding at least another foot in height to the crib.
I found the Trader Joe’s Whole Wheat British Muffin bag with a ponytail holder around it to be very effective for keeping his cast dry in the bath. Needless to say, we skipped the end-of-summer Labor Day pool party at our pool this year.
My little maniac now seems safe in his crib and can’t climb out. He runs around and plays like his “Hulk arm” isn’t there, but for me the guilt is there. It’s guilt wrapped in a little green cast.