Monday, February 15, 2010

Our 14 month old fell down the stairs

Apparently, falling down the stairs is a classic for babies. Tristan had fallen off a few steps here and there at home but nothing too terrifying. He hit his head on the rail, which gave him a bump one time but he was ok. He is actually aware that he could fall and hurt himself so when he is on the second step or higher, he slowly tries to lower himself. I have watched him successfully come down three steps sliding on his bum using his hands. I think what happened this weekend was not because he was trying to go down. He was probably curious and leaned over a little too much.

This weekend we took a trip over to Victoria to spend time with my family for Chinese New Year. My parent's place is not baby proof at all and is very cluttered with plants, toys, magazines, chairs - well, everything really. The staircase is located just off in the middle of the hallway. When we arrived, I kept staring at the stairs thinking that would be one dangerous exit for Tristan and we better keep him away from the hallway at all times. As you may know, Tristan loves to wonder and explore and doesn't like to be contained or held much. That's fine, as long as some adult watches him.

The incident happened a few hours after we arrived when we are packing up to head out to my friend's house. Jean-Louis put Tristan's coat on and I was gathering up snacks and drinks for our outing. I was looking for Tristan's water bottle cap in the kitchen. The one I found was his milk cap and then I realized that maybe Jean-Louis got confused and swapped the caps. I asked him about it from the kitchen and he mumbled something to me, which I don't remember anymore because the few seconds after that was all the I could recall. He turned towards the staircase and started running. I heard thuds along the stairs and immediately ran down with him. It finally happened. Tristan had fallen down the stairs and was screaming. We found him in the living room, which meant that he must have rolled down the whole flight of stairs (at least 14 steps), hit the wall, and then bounced off to the left and rolled down 2 more steps into the living room floor. None of us could believe it. Then we both ended up yelling at each other. I asked him why he didn't watch Tristan when he knew the stairs was dangerous and he said he thought I had him. Naturally, we were both very upset. My parents were both in the kitchen cooking, I was in there looking for the bottle cap. In the upstairs living room was Tristan, Jean-Louis, my brother, and my two nieces. With so many people there, Tristan still got away. My dad was yelling how could this have happened with so many people around. They were all watching the Olympics, talking, checking their phones or whatever. One second. That is all it takes. You divert your attention away from a walking baby for one second in a danger zone and anything can happen.

Tristan cried a lot but he was ok. No bruises and nothing really unusual about him even now. We'll just thank our lucky stars it wasn't worst. That was a BIG parenting fail for us :( We were both shaken up for several hours and even when I think about it now, the whole incident haunts me. After that, my parents built a baby gate out of a crib door and bungee cables for the top of the stairs. Jean-Louis and I also carried him more and I was afraid to let him down. Not too long ago, a mom on Twitter tweeted about her 2 year old falling into the pool and drowning to death. Some people blamed her for not watching her child more. I don't know the full story but accidents happen. One second. That is all it takes.


Anonymous said...

omg... it happens - it's almost WORSE when there are lots of people around! No one is actually responsible for watching the kidlet. I was at my now-father-in-law's place one night with the entire family of 14 or 15 people when my 2-year-old-nephew walked into the kitchen, grabbed a kitchen knife and ran around the house with it shrieking. Mark finally grabbed him from behind but not before my nephew threw the knife full force into the couch!

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