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Some Kids Bounce and Some Don’t

November 18, 2013
Winston

This is the first installment of our New Moms blog series.  Check back periodically to read about the real life stories from the moms at Safe Kids.

Sometimes kids bounce and sometimes they don’t.  My son, Winston, is proof. I've lost count of how many times he's fallen really hard -- and he's only 3 years old

Most of the time, these falls happen when he’s testing limits. He loves to go whizzing down the hill on his trike (and sometimes it tips over). His new favorite line is "Mommy, watch me" as he runs down steep hills or jumps off of a 3-foot wall. I marvel at his courage and am alternately thrilled and horrified by his fearlessness.

But there have been a few falls that have been really scary and could have been prevented.  

When he was 18-months old, I had him secured in his dining room booster seat, ready to eat. The booster was strapped to one of our dining room chairs.

At least I thought it was strapped to the chair.

It wasn't (I had unbuckled it to clean it and forgotten to re-attach it).

Winston went crashing to the floor, still attached to his booster seat. He hit his head hard and bit his lip. There was a lot of blood and he had terrible cuts on his head. He was screaming, I was crying, but we somehow made it to the urgent care down the street.

Thankfully, he was fine – no concussion and his cuts and bruises healed quickly.

Then there was the time he fell down the stairs.

Our house in Maryland has a basement and a long, steep staircase leading up to the main level. One of the first things we did when we moved in was install a baby gate.

The baby gate withstood incredible wear and tear in its 12-month tour of duty. Winston loved to stand on the gate to do his best impersonation of King Kong. Every day.

Last winter, it finally broke. That very same day, Winston fell through the gate and toppled down the stairs head first.

I was in another room but heard him scream as he thumped down the stairs. When I reached him, he was lying at the bottom of the stairs, scared and sobbing, but miraculously unhurt.

Even though Winston is fine and doesn't remember these falls, it's still hard to share these stories. They make me feel like a “bad” mom, even though I know I’m not.

The truth is these kinds of things happen to all of us; it’s part of being a parent. These are the experiences that made me more aware of the little things I can do each day to help keep Winston safe. Like buckling up on every ride, wearing a bike helmet, closely monitoring bath and swim time, and holding on tight at busy intersections.

We were also inspired to teach Winston a few safety lessons too. After the tumble down the stairs, we taught him to walk down the stairs safely ("carefully and slowly, hold the hand rail"). He still repeats these words each time he goes down stairs. And we worked with him on how to sit safely in a grown up chair. Now I don’t have to hover over him if we don’t have the perfect seat.

In the end, I'm not going to be able to prevent every injury, but there are lots of little thing I can do to hopefully limit the serious ones.

I want to hear "Mommy, Watch Me!" for a long, long time.

Falls can seem so harmless yet nearly 3 million kids have serious injuries from falls every year. Here are some tips to help your little explorer avoid serious injuries from falls.