Q&A: My baby fell off the bed

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Dr Simon Strachan replies:

This is one of those horror situations all parents can relate to. Fortunately, these falls are rarely serious, as most children do not fall directly onto their heads, and the impact can be absorbed by other parts of the body.

A baby’s cranium (skull) is made up of five bones, which are held together by a fibrous layer. This means that their skulls consist of more than just one solid piece of bone. Since the fontanel and the five cranial sections have not fused, it means that even if your baby has fallen on her head, her skull is able to absorb the impact without breaking any bones.

After such a fall, make sure your child is not unconscious.

Ensure that she can sit in an upright position and can do everything she could previously do. Children usually vomit after a hard bump to the head, but if it carries on and results in unconsciousness, dizziness, slurred speech, unsteady gait or the inclination to sleep for a long time, make sure you take her to the nearest casualty department.

Usually, a lump appears at the point of impact, and if it keeps swelling, feels soft to touch or is bleeding, see a medical practitioner. But if she falls and cries for a few minutes with just an egg-shaped lump but no other perturbing signs, don’t worry.

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