Our Mommy MD Guide’s reply: My kids have had plenty of bumps and bruises, and my younger son also had a really bad fall. He’s a climber, and one day he climbed up onto the back of one of our living room chairs. He lost his balance, and he fell to the floor, landing directly onto the top of his head. I was concerned about his head, and I was even more concerned about his neck.
I raced over to my son. He let out a cry, and I could see him moving his arms and legs—both good signs. My son was really dazed though, so my husband and I agreed that we should take him to the hospital to get checked out. My son didn’t fight my husband at all as I got him into his car seat, which is unusual, so that concerned me. It was very scary.
I took my son to the emergency department where I work, and he was treated by one of my colleagues. As so often happens when I am at work with my patients, by the time we got to the hospital and were seen 45 minutes after my son’s fall, he was acting perfectly fine. This was very encouraging.
I did talk through with my colleague whether or not my son should have an x-ray or CT scan. One problem with x-rays and CT scans is that an active child like my son would need to be sedated, which brings with it a whole new set of risks. Also, studies have shown that x-rays and CT scans can increase a child’s risk of cancer, which to me far outweighed the concerns I had over my son’s head at that point. We opted not to do any scans, and my son was fine.
—Rebecca Reamy, MD, a mother of seven- and two-year-old sons and a pediatrician in emergency medicine at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta