Skip to main content

What to do if your baby falls off the bed

It’s scary when a baby falls off the bed, but once you’ve read this article, you’ll be prepared to know what to do if it does happen. The bottom line is that if they seem fine (they are active, consoled, and playing minutes after the fall), there is probably no cause for concern. However, there are several important signs to watch for to make sure they’re okay and have not been injured. Here’s what to do if your baby falls off the bed.

Image used with permission by copyright holder

What should I do first if my baby falls off the bed?

Your first instinct will be to pick them up and console them, but you should actually look to see if they have any warning signs of a serious injury before moving them. If you pick them up when their head, neck, or spine is hurt, you could make it worse. As hard as it is to not scoop them up, you need to check for red flags first. You can still speak to them in a soothing voice and be close to provide some comfort. Your smell and voice will go a long way.

What are the warning signs of serious head injury to look for?

Your baby will almost certainly cry if they fall, but is it just because they are startled or experiencing minor, temporary pain, or is this an emergency for the ambulance? If you see any of these signs, call 911 right away:

  • Loss of consciousness (even if they wake right back up)
  • Vomiting
  • Blood or other fluid coming out of anywhere on the head
  • Swelling of the soft spot on the top of their head
  • Bruising or swelling on their head
  • Seizure
  • Abnormal breathing

If any of these are the case, pediatrician Dr. Ei Ye Mon says it could be a head trauma: “It’s possible that they’ve also injured their neck or spine, and you don’t want to possibly worsen the injury by moving them.”

Pick them up as soon as you see they are conscious and don’t have any signs of serious head trauma. If they aren’t consoled after you pick them up, that’s another red flag to go to the hospital.

A teddy bear and first-aid kit
Image used with permission by copyright holder

How long until we’re in the clear?

Monitor your baby closely for 24 hours for any of the symptoms above: “Usually, once you’ve passed that 24-hour mark, it’s safe to say that anything scary is less likely,” Dr. Ye Mon says. Look for lethargy and anything out of the ordinary like eating or sleeping more or less than usual or crying a lot.

You don’t need to try to keep them awake after the fall– it’s natural that they’ll want to sleep to recover. But if any nap in the next 24 hours is going long, try to wake them to make sure you can. If you can’t easily wake them, call 911.

Anything out of the ordinary over the next 24 hours can warrant a trip to the pediatrician, even just extra fussiness.

Trust your instincts

If your gut says to go get them checked by the pediatrician, do it. It’s better to be on the safe side even if your baby isn’t showing any signs of distress. If anything at all seems off, that’s a reason to make the appointment. You don’t have to if you’re not concerned, but if your instincts are saying to go, don’t fight them.

Prevent the next time

Falls make up over 50% of nonfatal injuries in children under a year old. It’s a common occurrence between changing table mishaps and learning to roll over for the first time in an unexpected place.

Children over a year old bump their heads a lot, and it’s less of a concern than when it happens to an infant since their skulls are softer and not fully formed. Dr. Ye Mon says, “the younger they are, the more dangerous it is for a serious head injury, no matter the mechanism of the fall or how high it is.”

Don’t let babies sleep outside of their crib or bassinet and keep bouncy chairs on the floor instead of the table, for example. Even if your child isn’t injured in the fall, it’s not a stress you want to put yourself through so stay cautious.

And if it does happen, don’t guilt yourself. Accidents happen! By knowing what to do when your baby falls off the bed, you’ll be best prepared to ensure they’re treated promptly and appropriately.

Editors' Recommendations

Sarah Prager
Sarah is a writer and mom who lives in Massachusetts. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Atlantic, National…
Some babies want to be held while sleeping: Here’s why
Tips to help with this situation
Father holding baby in nursery.

Those first few days and weeks after your newborn comes home from the hospital are filled with happiness, but they are also trying too. As parents adjust to having a newborn in the house, it can be difficult to find time for your own personal care as well as household chores. Even taking a shower on some days seems like a luxury.

Now, if your newborn wants to be held all night or while napping, it can be even more challenging. Just finding the time to get some sleep yourself is like a pipe dream. Why do some babies want to be held constantly while sleeping? The first step is understanding why newborns want to be held all night, what you can do to manage, and when baby will sleep in a crib. Don't worry. Just because your newborn wants to be cuddled while sleeping doesn't mean you won't be able to.

Read more
Concerned with baby scratching their nose? This is what it might mean
Here's when a baby scratching their nose is normal
A little child holding a tissue in their hand and crinkling their face up.

Watching your child discover new things is always exciting, especially once they find their hands. At this point, you may find that they are obsessed with touching anything and everything. Among their exploring, you may have noticed your baby scratching their nose more than normal. At first, it seemed like it was only an itch, but now your little one is constantly touching their nose. Is this another quirky baby stage to get through, or something more concerning?

If you have seen your tot grabbing at their nose and getting whiny, there are a few things to check out and then try to get them back to a happy baby. An itchy nose outside could mean something needs a deeper look inside. Let's see what your baby's extra interest in their nose could really be about.

Read more
Can pregnant women eat shrimp? What you need to know
How to safely eat shrimp during pregnancy
Pregnant woman on a bed

There are a lot of rules about what pregnant women should and shouldn't eat, so it's not surprising that many wonder if pregnant women can eat shrimp. After all, there are concerns about many different foods and varieties of seafood that aren't safe for pregnant women to consume, but is shrimp included in that list?

Can pregnant women eat shrimp?
You've probably heard warnings against pregnant women eating certain seafood while pregnant, including seafood high in mercury content like fresh tuna, swordfish, and shark. Fortunately, seafood like shrimp contains only low levels of mercury, making it safe for pregnant women to eat. Although shrimp is considered safe for pregnant women to eat, the FDA suggests that they limit how much seafood they eat weekly. A general guideline is no more than 8 to 12 ounces of seafood per week.

Read more