Baby Fell Backwards While Sitting- Reason for Concern?

Updated on November 12, 2011
L.B. asks from New Rochelle, NY
16 answers

In the last two weeks, my mother's helper let my 10 month old baby fall off the couch and my husband let the baby fall off a bed. Both times, being the paranoid FTM, I took him straight to the doctor, where they essentially told me I didn't need to take him to the doctor unless he blacked out or vomited.

Well today, he was sitting on the floor next to me while I was sorting some stuff and suddenly arched backwards and hit his head on the wood floor. I am going to buy more carpets this weekend! He cried for a bit, and now seems fine. But I am traumatized! I don't think I need to take him to the doctor, but I will certainly watch him. I really just need some reassurance that babies can fall backwards and be fine. I have literally been having nightmares after the last two falls, and now that this happened under my watch, I think they are going to need to put me on anti-anxiety meds.

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answers from Redding on

Part of them learning to balance requires a few falls now and then. It's a rare occurance for a couch fall or an off the bed fall to do any real damage. Try to calm down, you havent even reached the "bleeding" stage yet, it's around the corner ;)

2 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

Take a deep breath. No one 'lets' a baby fall. It's called an accident. Your helper didn't let the baby fall off the couch and your hubby certainly didn't let his son fall off the bed. You have seen for yourself that things can happen while you are right there. Rest assured that these are just a few of the bumps and bruises your son will have.

You need to have confidence in your ability to use good judgement in caring for your child which includes knowing what to do when an injury happens. You might want to look into taking a first aid course so you'll feel better in case of an emergency.

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answers from New York on

Actually, the anxiety issues sound like the real problem here. If you are like this at this age, once he starts walking and running (and falling and hitting his head all.the.time. you could have real problems). My 15 month old has bruises or goose eggs on her head more often than not. Falling and hitting her head on the floor or the corner of the door or something is almost a daily occurence.

I have never taken her to the doctor. She is always fine (she also fell off the bed twice). Babies' heads are designed to sustain a fall from their own height. Look out for vomiting, swelling of the soft spot, changes in the pupils (i.e. one stops growing or shrinking to light or become very big), or no crying when he falls (blacking out). If none of those things happen, I would not take him to the ER. Those are the things the doctor will look for, and if they're not present, won't do anything further. So you're basically just wasting a trip.

I know how anxiety about kids can be. It can be very consuming. I would actually spend time working on that rather than working on carpeting or falling.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Houston on

Don't know if this will help, but it sounds like with the latest incident (arching back and hitting his head) that he's simply trying out new body movements. He hasn't been able to control himself like that before, and now he wants to test it out and see what will happen. He may try it a few more times before he makes the connection that it doesn't feel good!

At that age, they're getting very mobile - it's hard to prevent every fall. Try to relax. As he gets older and figures out that you freak out whenever he touches the ground in a less-than-pleasant way, he'll start to work to get that type of reaction from you. And he won't take those spills and falls well himself.

Ask your mom if she can remember you falling the first few times. I'm sure you did - and you survived. All babies fall. All toddlers fall. Most kids have broken a bone or two and survived just fine.

What's happening is normal - maybe not ideal, but normal.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Hartford on

The baby is fine. Babies bang their heads. Sometimes they even do it on purpose. His balance is not perfect, and that's normal. What I do have a problem with is that you stated your babysitter and husband "let" your son fall off the bed and couch. By that logic, you "let" your son fall back and hit his head on the floor when chances are very high that that's the exact same situation that happened when he fell while other people were watching him.

Instead of trusting your son to sit completely on his own, how about putting a Boppy pillow around him for additional gentle support? That way if he does tip it's a soft landing or he can just lay down on it. No need to go get carpeting or rugs that have harsh chemicals in them and do NOT provide anything in the way of padding... but are really great dust and pollen and mold collectors.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

Your baby will be fine, you will be fine. Next time he takes a tumble, take a deep breath, collect yourself, smile and say, "oops you fell." Mine is a newly minted walker and takes tumbles and spills all the time. He brushes them off, and so do we.

If carpets will give you piece of mind, by all means buy some. Consider getting foam tiles too. They are more expensive, but offer better cushioning and are easier to keep clean.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I know how you are feeling, but it is pretty rare for a baby to do serious damage when they fall. You've been to the doctor, so you know when they consider it necessary to be seen. Dr. Sears' website has a great section on childhood head injuries...
Reading this has greatly reduced my anxiety on the subject. Always use your mommy gut, and if you don't feel right about you should call the doctor or go in. But babies and toddlers fall down, a LOT, and their bodies are designed well for these types of tumbles. And I'm pretty sure boys are just born with boo-boos ;)



answers from Albuquerque on

Honey, you are totally normal for freaking out... but I promise you that every baby falls over and hits his or her head - and they all turn out just fine. When your son starts walking, he'll fall backwards, forwards, sideways, you name it - he will figure out a way to bruise just about every part of himself. And it's all normal.

Put a boppy pillow around or behind your baby when he's sitting on the floor. That way he'll land on the pillow rather than on the hard floor.


answers from Lakeland on

It's ok. If he is acting normal then don't worry. I often worry about things like this too.



answers from Phoenix on

I worry about my son falling & bumping into things constantly. I feel like I'm just waiting on the next disaster . His PT told me how babies are physically built to avoid injury during a normal fall / tumble off of something like a couch , bed , coffee table. My middle son hit his head hard enough , that he was unconcious for a moment, took him to ER. He ended up being fine.



answers from St. Louis on

It's good that now you know the symptoms that warrant a Dr's visit - blacked out...vomiting...behavior changes...headache unlike any
other (once they're old enough to talk)

I remember my oldest falling off the bed around 7 mo old onto the hard wood second also doing the same all while I was just an arms length away. They can be so quick! I do take my kids to the chiropractor for just those reasons. My kids are 7, 5 and 11mo and we go to the chiro every 6-8 weeks since they were infants to make sure everything stays in line - keep that neck and spine straight. (also helps prevent ear infections)
Let me's just the beginning - they climb and fall out of the crib, fall down stairs, fall out of bed (just last night for us with our 5yo off the top bunk), fall off their bikes, and with boys the list goes on an on......
We all do the best we can but accidents will happen - just be confident in knowing when it's time to go to the Dr.



answers from New York on

You are in for the ride of your life LOL. You would be surprised how resilient
these kids are. I know it is hard if he is your first, but just try to relax.
If he falls and there is a change in his personality, he is lethargic, vomiting
or sleepy then off to the doc. Otherwise, just watch and relax.


answers from Kansas City on

You need to take good care of your baby and watch him carefully BUT they do fall and do other things that we think would hurt them and usually they are fine. I remember when I left my first child with my mother overnight for the first time and came home to a big bruise on his forehead where she had let him hit his head in the bathtub. I was so upset about that. Did I really think he could go his whole life with no falls, bruises, etc? Guess I did but I soon learned and bumps, falls and bruises are part of babies sooner or later. I didn't buy one of those pillows to put behind babies for any of mine but I did take a quilt or blanket and roll it and put it all around the baby in the floor so when they decided to throw themselves back, if they did, the soft quilt was behind them. Now they have those nice pillows too. Falls off beds and changing tables, etc. can be dangerous but usually not and just check the eyes and other things to be sure they are okay but no doctor trip is necessary for that or you could be there all the time in the future, like when he starts walking and pulling up, etc. I doubt you need more carpets if you put something around/behind him.


answers from New York on

Yeaaaah, I remember when the Kiddo learned to arch his back and throw himself off whatever he was sitting on at the time (a Boppy, a lap, the couch); it's like he enjoyed the falling sensation (but not the sudden stop!). Just keep something soft under him when he's playing on the floor, and obviously, keep him off the couch and bed unattended UNTIL he knocks off the back-arching.

You'll be fine. I was the same way. Mine's 5 now, and is testing at a 1st grade level in Math and Reading - so no brain damage! :) I can't TELL you HOW MANY times he's smashed his head.... (and still does, about 3x a week).


answers from Cleveland on

its normal mama! breath babys fall and get bumps and bruises all the time! i remember when my daugther first started to crawl she wouldnt watch where she was going and would bump her head consently and would fuss but would be fine. and we live with her dads parents and one of the times she did this his mom came down and started yelling about how she is gonna have brain damage and how we dont watch her or anything and i had to go up and get her a bottle because it was about bed time and his parents ripped me a new one i went up to mine and his room and screamed into a pillow and cried and got myself together and went back to the basement (our daughters room its finished) and i told him what happened and that i couldnt just stay here any more and that its bs they cant mind there own and he went up and layed into them. well the next day i was talking to my mom and it was my daughters nap time and she started fussing because she was tired and my mom said something and i started laughing well his sister was home n heard her crying and was comng down to get her and i yelled at her to let her be she is fine and to get back upstairs and to mind her own n she started saying how i am a horrible mother becase i dont care my kid is crying and that i was laughing at her i lost it then and after i laid her down i called my boyfriend at work and told him what happened and that i was packing mine and our daughters stuff and we were leaving i wasnt going to raise her here and be on my toes about what i can and cant do with my kid. well that was the last time they ever said anything about my parenting

but point of that story kids fall and get hurt its part of childhood i would be worried if i saw a little kid that DIDNT have any bumps or scrapes or anything. so relax and let him be a kid



answers from New York on

DS is around the same age and does the same thing. He likes the feeling of falling back. I just make sure he's on the floor and not playing on the couch. I would say though try to not encourage games where they are arching their heads back and swinging around... I think those games encourage that kind of behavior. GL!

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