Please! Please! Please! Make sure your gates are secure!
Yesterday evening when DH got home from work, I went out to get the mail. As I went down the 13 steps in our townhouse to the front door, I "thought" I had secured the gate behind me. We have one of those First Years metal gates that you open with your foot & it swings out or in. I guess I pushed it behind me and it didn't latch properly. Well, in those few minutes I was gone, our soon to be 15-month old DD went over to the gate area (which is in a little alcove not visible by the living room) and tumbled all the way down the steps to the linoleum floor below. DH was sitting on the chair calling his brother and heard her plummeting to the bottom. As I was walking back to the house, I could hear her screaming! DH was holding her when I walked in and she immediately vomited all over him. She also had blood coming from the mouth area. For any of you that have had your child injured, you know the feeling that was in the pit of my stomach!!! I could tell the mouth injury was not serious and her teeth were intact. I was more concerned about a head injury. I called our HMO and was put on hold for over 30 minutes!!! I had considered calling 911 but I kinda knew she was probably okay as she quickly settled down, ate a frozen Gogurt (I did this to try to get something cold on her lip--she wouldn't let me put ice on it or even her little boo-boo frozen thingamajig.) Well, it went from bad to worse. They sent us to the hospital (which is 40 minutes away) where we sat and waited for almost three hours! She was seen in triage within the 1st hour, and the nurse said she thought everything was okay--no fever, acting normal, etc. so she was just placed on the regular waiting list. Well, after three hours of waiting (where she played, walked, laughed, ate), we talked with the nurse and took Zoe home without even seeing a doctor! My experiences with our HMO are another looooong forum topic!!!
Everything seemed fine....we let Zoe sleep with us and I woke up at midnight and could feel the heat coming from her body--temperature of 103.5. I went down to get the Motrin but we're out so I have to go out to the 24-hour Food Lion to get some. We gave her the Motrin, put cool compresses on her, and the fever was back to normal within an hour. To top everything off, DH gets called out on an auto theft at 2:30 a.m.!!! Luckily, as he is shaving, they call back and say another detective was on route!!! Jeez!
I'm happy to report that this morning she seems just fine with the exception of a little bruising and a fat lip. She has an appointment with her pediatrician in a few hours just to be sure.
This experience has made me realize that you can not let your guard down for one second. My DH & I have always been extremely paranoid about the steps and can't believe this happened. I think we have just been feeling comfortable with our parenting since everything has gone so smoothly thus far!!! I ALWAYS close the gates--even when she's sleeping or at daycare the few hours she goes during the day. This time, my carelessness of not ensuring the gate was latched could have resulted in a disaster! Of course, my DH completely blames himself. He says he ALWAYS checks to see if the gate is secure when she goes over to that area. He said he was even thinking of doing so but said to himself, "No, I'm sure it's shut." You should have heard him cussing at himself...."there I was sitting on my fat *$$ talking on the phone....I just felt like killing myself when I heard that sound of her falling."
So, please make sure your gates are securely latched and that you have the right type of gate for the TOP of the stairs. I've read that some of the pressure gates can become loose as a toddler is pushing on them.
Thanks for listening!!! I'm starting to feel much better as I hear my little angel laughing as she's chasing the cat!!!
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