BABY FALL DOWN, GO BOOM

So while you are waiting with baited breath (what does that EVEN mean?) for the story that goes with that poll, I will now fill you in on what happened to ZGirl.

BTW, I have set the comments to moderation as I don’t want any one to be influenced unfairly in their voting. On the poll. Yes, there’s an actual voting process. Click the link and you’ll see.

Anyway, ZGirl. One of the daycare employees dropped her on her head. That’s the short version. Here’s the long version chalk full of my own irrelevant gobbledygook.

Friday, December 12th, early afternoon I picked up a message on my voice mail. It was the daycare Director who wanted to talk to me about moving ZGirlup to the next level, a 4-18 mos room. Me, not ready to move my baby to be with a bunch of toddling toddlers and their clumsy ways, didn’t call her back. Oh, the irony!

Around 4:30 the phone rang and I recognized the daycare number. I let it ring a couple extra times since I just thought it was the Director trying again to get my permission to move ZGirl from the newborn room, but I decided to pick up.

She asked if I had got her earlier message.

No, I lied.

Well, she said, I wanted to ask about moving ZGirl to the next level, but I also need to talk to you about something else, but I want to talk to you in person. Can you be here soon?

I’m thinking to myself that something is wrong since I normally would have been there by 5:00, just 30 minutes from the time of our phone call. I asked what was going on.

I don’t want to alarm you, but I’d rather tell you in person.

Now you have me alarmed, I replied.

There was an accident with ZGirl. She’s OK, the Director quickly added and then started to ramble about the details. I just then realized that the funny little noises I heard in the background was ZGirl hiccuping. You know? Those diaphragm spasms you get after you’ve cried so hard, you can’t catch your breath?

The only thing I said into the phone was I’ll be right there, and I hung up and drove the 10 minutes it takes me to get to the center.

As I walked up the sidewalk, I could see the Director’s office and two of the care givers inside. The door to her office was closed, but I marched in without knocking and saw the Director holding ZGirl, still hiccuping but asleep, in her arms. Care Giver #1, was sitting down at a desk. Her eyes were red and her face was tear-stained. Care Giver #2 only looked at me as I walked past her right up to the Director who tried to hand me the incident report. I didn’t even look at it, but let it drop on the desk and reached for ZGirl.

That’s when I got the first close-up look of the huge bump on her head. It was already dark with blood and there was an angry rug burn on top of that.

Now that she was safely in my arms, I was told again what had happened. They were moving the babies from one room to another and they use the car seats to transport them by putting the seats in a little wagon. ZGirl was pitching a fit, either hungry or tired. Instead of arching her back, she curled up, throwing her head forward…at the same time the car seat was picked up.

The momentum of her head and the moving car seat pitched her forward and out of the car seat onto the floor, head first. I was told that she may have fallen a foot, at the most. Yes, I know, a foot to a 5 month old may as well be 10 feet. Especially when it’s on to your head.

I now marvel at how calm I was, or as the Director said when she called me over the weekend to check on ZGirl, how I maintained a sense of grace. CG #1, on the other hand, was hysterical. When I happened to look at her, she burst into sobs. I walked over to her, ZGirl in my arms, and just hugged her and told her I knew she loved ZGirl and that it was a horrible accident.

CG #1 has a sweet spot for ZGirl. ZGirl is the only baby who seems to know that all the other babies are crabby and will smile and coo for CG #1 when the others won’t. The following Monday and Tuesday, she admitted that she had basically carried and cuddled ZGirl all day.

CG #2 was there as she had witnessed the accident.

It could have been worse. So, so much worse. I remember specifically telling the staff on the first day I left ZGirl at the center to be especially caring with her as it had taken me four years to get her. I won’t even let my mind go to the unthinkable. Just now, by typing that I froze up, mentally and physically.

Within 10 minutes of arriving at the center, I was bundling ZGirl up in the same car seat to take her to the ER to be examined. And well, the rest as you know, is history. If you go to my flickr (the link over on the right of your screen), you can see a little montage of ZGirl’s face that first week.

The Director has assured me (the best she can) that have taken steps to reduce the likelihood of something like this ever happening. *IF* the babies must be moved (they will not be shuttling them from one room to another, but staying in the one room), they will be buckled up in their car seats. I do not blame them for not having her buckled in in the first place. It’s hard to imagine that a baby, who can’t (or won’t) even roll over, could throw herself into a seated position.

Her eye is still a little puffy and a rather unpleasant shade of puce and pee yellow, but the bump on her head? Gone. Completely and totally. I imagine in another week, all physical traces of the accident will be gone from her sweet, little face. 

I have forgiven the care center, but I most certainly never, ever will forget.

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14 thoughts on “BABY FALL DOWN, GO BOOM”

  1. What kind of floor do they have?

    Fitz-Hume rolled off my bed at that age (I am a shitty mother) and my bed is three feet up if it’s an inch (okay, a REALLY shitty mother) and she went face down onto cheap carpet and all she had was a nasty scare and a teeny weeny pink mark that went away in 12 hours. If I showed you the picture I took twenty minutes after The Incident, you would say “What mark?”

    Unless they have flooring made of diamonds or something, I call serious shennanigans on this “one foot up” business.

    Maybe they could get some carpet? Or those orthopedic rubber mats that clerks stand on?

    Or, really, as several people pointed out, they should be strapping the kids in, or using something else. The seat manufacturers are pretty shrill about the “OMG, the straps are A STRANGULATION HAZARD if not fastened!” thing.

  2. Ouch. Poor Z girl and poor you too. L had a nursery accident too involving a cut head and a trip to the er in an ambulance – like Z girl all was fine in the end. Even the most impeccably run place has accidents. If it is of any comfort you would be hard pressed to find any family without a fall on the head incident. Not that that helps forget the pain for you both but certainly you are not alone.

  3. Ditto Catherine. I think they did a really BAD job of informing you. Frankly, they should have called you ASAP and met you at the hospital with her.

    And no they should not have been putting the car seats unbuckled EVER anywhere, or in a little wagon. What on earth?

    Why didn’t they just carry them, one at a time, or whatever? I know you have forgiven them, but they really should not be doing that. I think they should have assumed that babies would turn over suddenly, and that even if she didn’t turn, it could always tip out of an unsecured wagon, right?

    Tipping is incredibly likely, and frankly, I think that’s what actually happened and they are lying, which is why CG#1 is so upset. She or the Director are worried they will get caught.

  4. I didn’t realize they were doing this as common practice! I thought this happened while they were trying to get her buckled up and ready to go! Lesson #1 of using a carseat is never ever use it without the buckles…precisely because of this kind of accident. I mean, all you have to do is look at all the warning stickers all over the damn thing…in bright yellow/orange…not to mention the warnings in the instruction manuals! oy!

    You may have forgiven the daycare, but I would be inquiring about all their practices after this. I’d be checking water temperatures and looking to see if the blind cords are properly out of reach. Simple safety measures are important when it’s your JOB to care for (and protect) children.

  5. Good for you staying so calm! Although I bet that 10 minute drive was HORRIBLE, you poor thing! I’m such a big cry baby even when everything is ok. I even tear up when the kiddos get shots. Glad to hear everything is Ok and that it was just an unfortunate accident. I can’t imagine how horrible the care giver felt!

  6. Poor baby ZGirl, poor you, and poor CG #1. How awful. I don’t understand why the director wouldn’t tell you immediately on the phone, though. There should never be information withheld from a parent about their child.

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