When Toddler Behavior Leads to Infant Injury

Norton is a rambunctious toddler boy with rambunctious toddler behavior.  Like most toddlers, he’s happy to bounce off the walls and get into things.  And his toddler behavior often leads to time out.  This time, though, we had an incident that led to a panicked call to the doctor and a trip to the hospital.

Norton stepped on Eudora.  Hard.  On her chest.

You see, Norton displays some typical, but still extremely annoying, toddler behavior.  In particular, if I tell him to give something back to me that he’s not supposed to have, he either throws it or runs off with it in the opposite direction.  This time, he got the cordless phone and chose to run off with it.  Poor Eudora was on the floor, just chilling on her blanket.  Norton didn’t even notice her there as he tried to run off.  His only thought was on retaining that phone.

Instead, his foot landed on Eudora’s ribs.  He tripped and went sprawling on the floor, crying as he hit.  She wailed.

Crap.  Now what was I supposed to do?

I got her to calm down, but I was just lost.  Was she crying because she had a severe infant injury or because she was tired and cranky as it was near naptime?  Was she suddenly calming down because I gave her a bottle, or was she going into shock?  Was she okay, or was she suffering from internal bleeding or something awful?

This was completely and utterly outside of my realm of experience.  It was the kind of thing that I’d want to run to my own mother with if she were still here.  But it was just me at home with the two kids.  I had no one to run to in order to fix it for me.  I had to be the adult and handle it responsibly.

Norton was booted into his room.  I called my family doctor and asked his receptionist if I should go see them or if I should just rush Eudora off to the emergency room.  I didn’t know.  I was more than a little scared, but not panicking.  (Panic is useless.  I don’t typically do it unless there’s someone else to pick up the pieces.)

The receptionist told me that they’d squeeze us in.   The doctor saw us after a minimal wait (while the husband waited downstairs with Norton in the van) and examined Eudora’s chest.  He saw some redness that he thought would become bruising… and gave me the stink eye for having her on the floor on a blanket.  (I can’t be the only parent who lets her babies play on a blanket on the floor, can I?)  He immediately shipped us off to the hospital for a chest x-ray.


The x-ray was not too bad.  Eudora had taken a nap in her car seat and went right along with everything.  In fact, as the x-ray tech put the little lead apron over her, she gave him a bright and brilliant smile.  The lead apron was just the saddest thing ever.  It was so tiny, about the size of a wash cloth.  The band to put it around her middle was the size of a large headband.

Fortunately, her x-rays were clean.  There were no breaks.  Eudora doesn’t hold a grudge against Norton.  In fact, when we were getting ready to take her to the doctor’s office, Norton helped buckle her up in her car seat… and Eudora smiled at her big brother.

I’m glad that she was all right; it easily could have ended up with a very different outcome.  I still put Eudora on a blanket on the floor, but I put her as far away from the area where Norton tends to run around as possible.  Our near misses have been reduced.

Have you ever had an infant injury caused by a normal toddler’s rambunctious behavior?

About Suzi

Suzi is an American ex-pat living in British Columbia. She's a cloth diaper addict, wife, mom of three, and President of the Prince George chapter of Cloth for a Cause.


  1. Mama_de_Gabi_y_Mari says:

    This sounds alot like my house. My rambunctious toddler behaves the same way Norton does with the throwing and/or running away thing, too. I also let her little sister play on the floor on a blanket, though she no longer stays on the blanket.


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