Monday, May 9, 2011


I went from the high of celebrating Mother's Day yesterday to the low of getting a call from Ella's daycare center today.  (Really--is there ever a "good" reason why the daycare center would call a parent in the middle of the day?  Perhaps maybe if I referred someone and they were going to give us a discount, but I can't think of anything beside that.)  I got the call at 11:45 this morning, just as I was wrapping up some morning projects so that I could head over to feed her.  When I saw the name and number pop up, I knew something was wrong.  I figured that maybe Ella had a fever...I never expected the words that came out of the daycare center director's mouth.

Ella had fallen off the changing table and hit her head on the tile floor.

My heart started beating faster, and I was out the door before I even hung up the phone.  I didn't ask many questions at that point--I just wanted to get to my baby.  I said a quick prayer and called my husband.  I then called my very-dear friend (the pediatrician) to find out what signs of concern I should be looking for.  I left a message for my mom as I was pulling into the parking lot of the center.

Ella was in the arms of the main care provider when I came in the room.  She gave me a feeble smile and let me hold her tight.  With shaking hands and her still in my arms, I somehow took a picture on my phone so I could send it to my husband, my mom, and my very-dear friend (and so I could have "proof", if needed...but oh how I pray it doesn't come to that).  She nursed just fine, and let me apply an ice pack to the huge bruise just over her left eye.

I'd like to think that I remain pretty calm in crisis situations.  My main focus was Ella.  It wasn't the time or place to point blame or cause a commotion--all I wanted to do was be good to Ella and assess how she was doing.  When I saw that she was nursing just fine and putting her hands up to my mouth to kiss, I started to relax just the tiniest bit and asked a few questions.  The gist of the story is that one of the "floaters" who was helping out in the infant room was changing Ella and didn't realize how mobile she was.  Ella rolled right off the changing table counter, and she tried to catch her.  It sounds like she grabbed her a bit to break some of the fall, but Ella definitely hit the tile ground hard enough to leave a nasty bruise and cause a bit of a bloody nose.

I opted to call the pediatrician's office, just to be safe.  After playing a bit of phone tag with the triage nurse, I took my very-dear friend up on her offer to have her husband (also a soon-to-be pediatrician after graduating from medical school this week) take a look at her since he was nearby.  I didn't follow all of his medical lingo, but ultimately he thinks that she looks okay.  The bruise is on her forehead, and not the side where there could be more neurological concerns.  She didn't lose consciousness, and didn't show any other signs of a concussion.  By the time that we met up with him (about two hours after the fall--which is the most vital time), she was smiling and laughing and reaching for toys (and our cell phones).  I made contact with the triage nurse at her pediatrician's office, who agreed with my very-dear friend's husband's evaluation.

I kept her with me the rest of the afternoon.  I wanted to be able to monitor her, and I wanted to be able to comfort her.  And selfishly, I wanted her to be able to comfort me.  I wanted the reassurance of her sweet smiles to let me know that she would be okay.  We're home now, and she ate her dinner and took her bath like nothing was wrong.  She's nursing now, and I'd like to think that the swelling and bruising is going down...but maybe that's just wishful thinking.

Now I don't know what to do.  It is completely inexcusable for a child to fall off the changing table in a daycare center.  Yet at the same time, I realize that we're all human and we all make mistakes.  I want to be compassionate, but I want Ella to be safe.  I've been very happy with the center and the care providers, and while I'm obviously shaken up and rightly concerned, I don't know if pulling Ella out is necessarily the right answer.  What's done is done, and I can't change it.

What do you think?

This was such a scary experience, and yet I have to say that it's a blessing that she wasn't more seriously injured--or at least it appears that way.  It's a blessing she didn't lose consciousness, it's a blessing that my very-dear friend and her husband were able to give some medical advice, it's a blessing that my supervisor and colleagues were so understanding when I brought Ella back to the office, it's a blessing that the regular care provider called me this evening to check on Ella.  I never want to go through this sort of scare again, but God is good in limiting her injuries to what appear to be bumps and bruises.  But please pray for Ella--that she not be in too much pain tonight, and that she not have any lasting complications from this fall.


  1. Oh my goodness! As the parent of a child who has been seriously hurt at daycare more than once, I totally feel your pain. Though my child's injuries are due more to his actions than anyone elses, it's easy to be angry. But, take a step back. I have to admit with both of my kids I've (quickly!) wondered away to take care of a dirty diaper or grab a shirt, etc. I'm thankful that I've never had a 'mishap' but we are all human. It sounds like the daycare did the right thing by calling you right away and the followup is good.

    If it were me, I'd keep my kid there. It doesn't sound like you've ever had cause for concern before. Things like this do happen and I'm sure they'll take every precaution to make sure nothing like this ever happens again. It was a horrible, horrible mistake and I'm so sorry your little babe (and you!) was involved! She sounds like a little trooper!

  2. Ahh, as much as it sounds awful, this was a serious accident, but an accident. . . even if she is my granddaughter, I trust your judgment as her mother about what is right, and it is a very child centered daycare. Floaters scare me, though. I'm sure it scared her, too, and she will be way more attentive in the future.
    I want to come see you!

  3. Oh no, how scary! I'm so sorry that you both had to go through that. I truly hope Ella will rest well and be as good as new soon. I think it was very unfortunate but also that it was an accident. As long as you don't feel it is a pattern of negligent behavior. You have every right to ask them what became of the situation and what they plan to do to prevent this kind of thing from happening again. I hope it works out.

  4. I hope she's doing better. Aunt Heidi just rearranged our changing table to make sure we don't have to move at all to reach a new diaper.

  5. Oh my gosh, so scary. I'm so glad she is ok. I would have concerns with the daycare as well.

    I can understand your concern. I'd try to get the facts on how she fell. Did someone just leave her laying there to tend to something else?

    But, even the best people make mistakes. Take my family for instance. They were all eating in the living room and no one (out of 5 people) noticed the gate was open and my poor nephew went tumbling down the steps in his walker!

  6. Laura, that's terrible. I think you responded in exactly the right way by remaining calm and getting Ella checked out. So glad that she's okay and I hope that last night was an easy one and that she woke up this morning right as rain.

    I'd also try to get the fact about the fall. Context would mean a lot, and it may just make you feel better about the prospect of keeping her there. I think you deserve an explanation (and my guess is that they'll be falling over themselves trying to provide one...I hope so, anyway).

  7. Yikes! I can only imagine what an emotional Monday it was for you, but I'm glad to hear that Ella seems to be recovering well.

    I agree with the comments above - it sounds like you have been happy with your daycare so far, and accidents like this can happen to any one of us. However, from the mommy perspective, I would inquire as to what they might do to avoid this happening again. They should have a strap on the changing table that is used every time a child (of any age) is laying on the table.

    I'm praising the Lord for His protection over Ella. Make sure you get a picture of her first shiner. :)

  8. I would definitely talk to the center and let them know your concerns and that you like them, but you need to be heard. I think it will make you feel better and maybe make them more aware of things.

    I'm so glad she's fine and you were able to get her checked out right away.


I love to hear what you think!