Twice in NHV's two years, she's had an injury known as nursemaid's elbow.
The first time Natalie was about 7 months old, and she actually caused this injury to herself while rolling over in her crib. Click here if you're interested in the full details.
And then, recently, my husband and Natalie were playing like daddies and their little girls do ... a little rougher than I would like. Natalie was behind Chad with her arms stretched up toward his neck. He was crouched down reaching over his shoulder to grab her hands. As he stood up - raising her with him, there was a quick holler of pain from our baby girl. Again, full details here.
Actions that can increase risk of this type of injury, according to KidsHealth.org:
- Pulling a child up by the hands. Lifting under the armpits is the safest way to lift a child.
- Swinging a toddler by the arms. This seems like lots of fun but it is never a good idea.
- Breaking a fall with the arm. The natural response to falling is outstretching an arm for
- Rolling over in an awkward way. Sometimes rolling over in a crib, bed, or on the floor can cause nursemaid's elbow in infants.
Both times it was very clear that something was wrong with Natalie's arm - she would not use it and was calm unless her arm was moved. Both times I immediately thought it was her shoulder - not her elbow - come to find out, that is a a common mommy misdiagnosis for this injury.
A quick call to our family doctor confirmed that it was probably her elbow. More specifically an injury called nursemaid's elbow, which is a partial dislocation of the elbow. And it sounds much worse than it is ... I say this mainly because visually Natalie's elbow looked totally fine and once we immobilized the arm, she didn't appear to be in any pain.
- Immobilize the arm. If your toddler will leave the arm pulled across his tummy, that's sufficient. If not, use a bandana to make a quick sling.
- Call the pediatrician's office. Chances are he will be able to confirm over the phone that it's nursemaid's elbow. If the accident happens during office hours, it can be reset by your doctor.
- Make a trip to the ER. If the accident happens after office hours, you'll need to go to the ER to have the elbow reset. Do not attempt to reset the elbow yourself.
Next week's edition of Accidents Happen ... Strange Object in Nasal Passage with help from Chitown Momma and her boy B ... you won't want to miss this one!