Can You Save Your Baby in an Emergency?

Rowan sporting the end of a black eye.
As a brand-new mom, your life has been flipped upside-down and you really learn the meaning of wearing your heart on your sleeve. Your child's injuries are almost as painful for you emotionally as they are for your child physically (sometimes more, I think).

Most people understand the very basics of first-aid, but no one really knows how they'll react in a situation until they've been there.

Mom, I love you, and while your nurse-knowledge and interest in the medical field wore off on me, your ability to handle situations most certainly did NOT.


When Rowan was a baby, he was trying to crawl up the stairs and smacked his mouth on the edge of one. He started crying, and I went to pick him up and saw ...


Lots of it. Coming out of his mouth.

Up until this point, he hadn't really gotten injured other than some bumps and bruises -- simple stuff. But at the sight of blood, I just freaked. I think I yelled something to my husband and just stood there holding the crying baby.

Enter my husband who will agree I SUCK in emergencies (and let's face it -- the first time your precious baby bleeds more than the amount from a shot, you think it's an emergency!). He snatched Rowan out of my arms, grabbed a washcloth and ice pack, went to the bathroom and cleaned him off, checked out his lip which had been cut, and held ice on it. I'm sure he rolled his eyes at my uselessness more than once in this whole ordeal as I stood next to him likely flapping my arms and squawking, "Is he okay?!"

Another time, I'd burned something in a pot and couldn't clean it out, so hubby decided to "boil it loose." We forgot about the pot, and when he went in to the empty pan on high and tried to move it to the sink for more water, the bottom fell straight off (the solder holding the coils on the bottom of the cheap pan melted) and landed on our rug, which promptly lit on fire.

I ran from the kitchen, picked up Rowan, and that was as far as I got before I just stood there, staring at the fire. Husband barks at me to take Rowan outside because of the nasty smoke and I followed orders -- ran outside, turned around, and stared. Thank god for his military firefighter training and his ability to not act like an idiotic deer in the headlights.

I've had some training. When I was 13, I did an infant Heimlich and CPR class. Yep. That's it. That's all. Compare that to my friend Katherine who has recent certification in first aid and CPR for adults and children.

Aly, her 14-month-old daughter, was carrying around her pillow and, as tired babies do, was falling down a lot. Katherine was finishing work on the computer before putting Aly down for a nap, when Aly fell and instead of getting back up, started crying and laid down on her pillow. She shared:

"I went over to her and found that she was bleeding everywhere. The first blood I noticed was on her arm, but there was nothing sharp nearby. As I lifted her up, I saw that her face was also covered in blood. The blood was mixed with saliva and tears, so it looked like a rather sizable amount of blood covering my precious little girl. Large quantities of blood surrounding a child can be quite alarming to any new or seasoned mom. I'm a new one; you can imagine the panic."

But rather than acting like a complete moron like me, she was able to get Aly a cold bottle, which she assumed would help her lip feel better -- a lip she'd apparently bitten, as Katherine discovered as she calmly cleaned Aly's face as Aly drank from her bottle.

Firefighters and other folks who deal with emergency situations are often put though intense and often dangerous simulations to help them fine-tune their reactions. Where's the Mom Conditioning Course, because obviously I need to sign up! I also need to go renew my CPR and Heimlich training and take a first aid course -- hopefully one that will teach me to be more useful than the proverbial deer, which I'm assuming is always hit by the car.

Do you have first aid training? How do you react in emergencies?


Note: This is general mom advice and you should always contact a doctor when your child is ill or has an injury.

Images (top to bottom) Christie Haskell; Katherine Michaud

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