“One of the biggest risk to children her age is drowning. Make sure your toilets are child proofed, and if you have a pool, never leave her unattended around it. And child proof your house or watch her closely so she doesn’t fall from climbing up high” her pediatrician told me at my daughter’s 36 month visit.
I thought quietly to myself: toilet, ewww, check; no pool; and how very lucky I am that my preschooler doesn’t try to climb things or often engage in rowdy play. I must have jinxed it. Or she just hadn’t reached that milestone yet (there is a self-destruction one right?)
Late Saturday night, just three days after the visit to the pediatrician, while standing less than two feet away from me, she accidentally slips off the edge of the overly soft mattress (which is ironically on the floor to minimize the risk of her falling from the bed). She was standing about three inches off the ground and her foot slid down along the edge. She never even fell down but she cried so hard that I knew she was in pain and had a sinking feeling. I just didn’t realize how seriously serious it was until the next morning.
After wiping away her tears and calming her down enough to ask her where it hurts, I put a bag of frozen peas on her foot, told her that sleep will make her get better quicker, and tucked her into bed. The next morning however, as quickly as she jumped up, she sat back down and told me her foot hurt. It was at this point I started to really worry. She won’t put any weight on her foot so was it strained, sprained, or broken?
It’s Sunday morning – should I take her to the emergency room at the Children’s hospital? But it hardly seems an emergency. There was slight bruising and swelling at the top of her foot but she didn’t flinch when we pressed and prodded. Urgent care? But they probably won’t have x-ray to rule out a broken bone. After a quick mad Googling session on strains and sprains and broken bones, we decided to wait until Monday to see an Orthopedic.
Until then, we followed RICE to minimize swelling:
To prevent potential further injury I carried her all day to her delight and by evening I started to wonder if she was just feigning pain for the care and attention. But on Monday morning, when I snuck downstairs while she was still sleeping to get her snacks ready for the trip to the Orthopedic, she woke and instead of coming down to look for me, she was crawling around upstairs crying so there was no doubt the pain was real. The x-ray confirmed that her foot was most likely broken in at least two places.
She was fitted with a boot and we started giving her a calcium and vitamin D supplement and offered even more calcium rich foods like milk, broccoli, oranges, quinoa, cheese and yogurt.
The first few days she stayed off her booted feet. Less than a week later she was using it for tap dancing.
Yesterday was week 4 and we took her for her follow up appointment and the new x-ray showed a massive healing response.
Again, she held a straight face when the doctor prodded and examined but she reached out to hold my hand and told me it really hurt later when we were alone. She is still avoiding putting weight on her foot. The doctor offered cute stickers to distract and lure her around the room but she limped and hopped on her good foot so she needs to wear the boot for at least two more weeks.
Side note: An office staff walked by and mentioned how clean her boot was and it made me secretly giggle; if only they knew I wiped down and disinfected her boot at least 3 times a day.
If I wasn’t there for the accident I would never have believed how easy it is to break a bone. There wasn’t much we could have done to prevent this incident but right after we got home, we added additional child proofing to prevent any of the ones we could.
I don’t really invite people over anymore. How do you child proof a home without making it look ugly and everything frustrating to use?