If your baby has a fall
Now your baby is on the move, they may find themselves having a
fall, perhaps on the stairs or from a piece of furniture. It can be
very scary to find your baby has fallen. Read the advice below to
find out what you should do.
Watch our video - If your baby had a fall
Baby primary survey
If you find your baby has fallen, assess their injuries using
the primary survey. Remember the steps using DR ABC – Danger,
Response, Airway, Breathing, Circulation.
1. Danger: if there is a danger in the area
(eg. broken glass), make sure that it is safe for you to approach
without injuring yourself.
2. Response: See if your baby reacts to you by
calling their name or gently tapping or flicking the sole of their
foot. If they do not respond to you, they may be unresponsive –
it’s important to open their airway. If your baby is awake, alert,
and breathing normally move on to checking them for other injuries
3. Airway: if your baby is not responsive, open
their airway. Place a hand on the baby’s forehead and gently tilt
the head back and lift the chin with your fingertip to open the
4. Breathing: check to see if they are
breathing normally – look for chest movement, listen for sounds and
try to feel their breath on your cheek.
- • If they are not breathing normally: keep the
airway open and pick out any visible obstructions from their mouth,
but take care not to push anything further into the throat. Start
- • If they are breathing normally: your
priority is to maintain their airway before checking for any other
injuries. Do not move them unless they are in danger or they stop
breathing normally. Hold your baby in the recovery position
by cradling them in your arms with the head tilted downwards. This
will protect their airway. While holding them in the recovery
position, check them over for other injuries. Take the baby with
you while you call for emergency help.
5. Circulation: if they are breathing normally,
check their circulation. Run your hands down their body and check
for any bleeds or other injuries. If your baby has a bleed or any
other injury, such as a head injury or broken bone, treat for this
now (Secondary Survey).
6. If your baby has a serious injury or becomes unresponsive,
call 999/112 for help, keep checking their breathing and prepare to
do CPR if they stop breathing normally.
If you think your baby has broken their arm (closed
Bones that are still growing are supple but may split, bend or
crack. If your baby has had a severe injury to their arm, looks in
pain, has difficulty moving the limb, with deformity, swelling or
bruising, they may have a broken bone.
1. Try to keep your baby still. Do not move
them unless they are in danger, until the limb is secure. Support
the joints above and below the injured area with your hands if
2. Call 999/112 for help. You may place padding
around the injury for extra support.
3. Treat them for shock if necessary.
4. Keep checking their breathing and whether
they can respond to you.
If your baby has a head injury:
1. If the injury is minor or just a bump and they are still
alert, sit them on your lap and try to hold something cold, like
frozen peas wrapped in a cloth, against the injury.
2. If you are worried that the injury may be more than a simple
knock to the head, especially if there is an open wound or deep
bruising or they are not acting normally, seek medical help.
3. Take your baby to hospital or call 999/112 if your baby:
- • has fallen downstairs
- • had a heavy blow to the head
- • was knocked unresponsive
- • is unusually drowsy following the injury
- • has had a fit (seizure)
- • keeps vomiting
- • has fluid draining from their ears or nose
These may indicate that a severe injury may have occurred and
your baby needs to be assessed by a healthcare professional.
4. While you’re waiting for help to arrive, keep checking your
baby and whether they respond to you. If they become unresponsive
and stop breathing normally then follow the steps for baby CPR.