Broken Arm Baby

“Wheee… Mommy, look at Dude!”

I swiveled my chair around and saw my son trying to climb into my husband’s office chair.  I picked him up and placed him in the chair.  Llama slowly turned him around.

He looked still and content, so I turned my eyes back to my laptop for a second to check a Facebook notification.  In that brief instant I heard a “BAM!” and then he started screaming.  My heart fell down into my stomach.  I quickly turned around, scooped Dude up and started to panic.  I looked down at my daughter and saw fear on her face as she tried to gauge my reaction.  I tried to calmly say, “It’s ok, baby.”  My first thought was, given he is a very rambunctious boy, Dude has fallen before and he’ll be ok.  Usually all he needs is a few cuddles and gentle shushes, and he calms right down.

I cuddled and I shushed and after a minute, Dude was still screaming. Mentally, I went through a checklist of what could be wrong.  He didn’t lose consciousness in the fall so he probably did not hit is head.  There is no bleeding anywhere.  I checked his chest and stomach.  I didn’t feel anything protruding nor any abnormally hard areas.

I took him downstairs as my husband walked in the door from work.  I handed Dude off to him to try to calm him down.  Dude was still screaming and no amount of consoling was working.  Guilt seeped through me.  Why wasn’t I watching more closely? What was wrong with my baby?  After about five minutes (that seemed like hours), he stopped screaming and was now crying off and on.  Knowing that crackers make him happy, I handed him a Ritz.  He grabbed for the cracker and brought it to his mouth.  But he couldn’t get it into his mouth.  His hand hung limply from his wrist.  Then, I saw his wrist.  Red and puffy, there was no mistake that it was swelling.

I quickly called the after hours nurse at my pediatrician’s office.  After describing his symptoms, she recommended that I take him in to be seen and gave me the address of an after-hours pediatric urgent care.  Unfortunately, it was 10 miles from our house.

My husband, seeing my panic, packed me two slices of the pepperoni pizza I had just made for dinner and helped me get Dude in the car.  My daughter, Llama, was slightly concerned about the situation, however being five, she told me nonchalantly as I headed out the door, “Tell me if he broke it, then I won’t spin him in the chair anymore.”

On the freeway to Urgent Care, I tried to talk to Dude to keep him awake.  Even though my rational self told me he didn’t bump his head, my irrational self kept flashing back to the episode of Punky Brewster where Cherry falls off the swing.  After her fall, she has trouble staying awake.  Punky and Henry know the risk for concussion and desperately try to keep her up.  I started to sing to Dude and talk to him in baby voices.  But, having just had a fall and being so close to his bedtime, he fell asleep.

Don’t have time to drive to Urgent Care, I thought.  What if he does have a concussion?  I exited the freeway and decided to take him to the children’s hospital instead, which was closer.  When I opened the car door, I desparately started running through the scenarios of what would happen if he didn’t wake up when I took him out of his car seat.  I worked myself into such a full-on frenzy that tears were running down my cheeks.

Of course, he woke up.  Looking back on this now, I was definitely overreacting.  And this is what my husband has to deal with every time something happens to one of our kids.  He really is a saint, my hubby.

We were checked in fairly quickly through the ER.  The doctor at first doubted Dude’s wrist was broken since Dude seemed happy enough and was moving it around.  He ordered X-rays just in case.  These showed that Dude had a tiny buckle fracture. The doctor binded his arm in a splint, referred us to a pediatric orthopedic surgeon and told us it would probably heal fine.ER-broken-armDude adjusted very well to his splint.  He was still able to crawl with it.  I call him my little peg-legged pirate.  The only problem was that it was hard to keep the white splint clean and the bandages secured to his upper arm.broken-arm-splint

Two weeks later, we visited the orthopedic surgeon. He encased Dude’s arm in a stylish, and much smaller, blue cast.  Now we just wait for it to heal.broken-arm-play

Dude and his sister no longer play in the chair.  I am now painfully aware of how quickly accidents can happen.

Have you or your child ever broken something? Tell us your story.

JoAnn Crohn

CEO/Founder at No Guilt Mom
JoAnn Crohn, M. Ed is a parenting educator and life coach who helps moms feel confident in raising empowered, self-sufficient kid while pursuing their own goals & passions.

She’s an accomplished writer, author, podcast host of the No Guilt Mom podcast, and speaker who appears in national media. Work with her personally in Balance VIP

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  1. Broken bones are worse on mom than kid at that age. We hate seeing those we love in pain My niece broke her leg when she was 2.5 and it broke my sister’s heart and we hated her being in pain.

  2. What a scary moment. I would of been freaking out too, it’s crazy how fast accidents can happen. Glad Dude is doing good!

  3. Oh the little sweetheart. My nephew broke his upper arm this summer, and didn’t have a cast but a sling (not sure why). It doesn’t seem like huge deals to kids as it does for adults, does it?

    1. Lol Sarah Beth! I was too as a kid. However, all my accidents just resulted in a mass of bruises. I’ve never broken a bone.

  4. Eesh! Glad to hear it wasn’t worse. That would definitely be scary. And I’m sure you’re not the first nor the last mom to overreact in a situation like that (I have the same “what if he doesn’t wake up” crisis daily with my puppy even when he’s just taking a nap and nothing is wrong!).

  5. Poor baby! Glad he’s okay and healing nicely. My mom loves to tell a similar story of how I was feeding my baby brother in his high chair and I managed to knock it over causing a trip to the hospital and a few stitches.

  6. So glad he’s ok!!! that blue cast is way better! You really thought quickly on your feet! I would have been just as panicked!!!

  7. Poor little Dude! What a cutie and bless him for being so good while he was getting fixed. That blue cast is so teeny! Speedy recovery for him!

    Katie <3

  8. Oh, how sad! My daughter broke her arm last year (after falling from a stool a few inches off the ground, onto CARPET, of all things) and it was so, so sad. It was a tiny hairline break but she had to have a cast because she wouldn’t leave the splint on. is THE WORST trying to keep the cast clean and dry. Good luck!!

  9. Wow, scary moment. I definitely feel for you. My daughter fell at school (she is 3) and about thirty minutes later was throwing up and slurring her words. I went into panick overdrive for sure. I knew that she had a concussion for sure and just worried about everything else that can be wrong. I have learned that children are definitely more resilient. Hope your little guy heals quickly, although the cast does not seem to phase him.

    Thrifting Diva

  10. Oh, JoAnn. Poor little guy. I bet your heart was pounding a mile a minute. My one year old recently fell at the park and hit her head on the stairs. She immediately started gushing blood. It was an awful sight. Luckily she was able to have the wound glued instead of stitches. She still has black eyes though. (This just happened Monday.)

  11. So sad! My baby is 6 months, and while he hasn’t broken anything (yet, knock on wood…), he was born with a club foot and had to wear casts to straighten it out. Everyone always asked about his “broken leg” and it got really annoying… haha! Hopefully it’s been better for you!

  12. Poor little man! My youngest daughter broke her arm when she was four. Does anyone remember Sit N’ Spins? She was trying to run on one. When she flew off she tried to land but broke both bones in her arm right arm…it looked like she had a second elbow. 🙁 So sad…but they do say broken bones grow back much stronger! 🙂

    1. We have a sit n spin in our garage currently. That is so sad about your daughter. I would probably lose it if it looked like my son had 2 elbows. How did you keep calm in that moment?

  13. I enjoyed reading your experience, and wish mine was similar. My 2 yr old son just fell and fractured his arm yesterday. He is not pleased with his splint. The past 48 hours have been a total nightmare.
    Any tips on bath time, coping tools you used and getting medicine down? I’m running out of ideas. None of us are sleeping well. This is one grumpy household right now…

    Mom dealing with a break breaking

    1. Oh no! Poor mom 🙁 I swear it is harder on us than them. My son didn’t seem to have a hard time with his splint. I think it was just the age difference on that one. He is one and just accepted it. For bath time, I did sponge baths when he had the splint on. To keep the splint clean, we put one of my husband’s socks on it. That way when it got dirty, we could just take the sock off and wash it. The only medicine we had was infant Advil. He is a big fan of the white grape flavor opposed to the cherry.

      It only gets better from here (hopefully). My thoughts are with you. It’s hard to be a mama of a future super hero 🙂 At least, that’s how I think they see themselves 🙂

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