Anyone who has been around children know they are quick, daring, and usually accident prone. As a nanny I knew accidents would happen but I didn’t realize how guilty I would feel when they did. This post is difficult for me to write because as I write this I am reminded how human I am and that I can’t protect the 2 amazing young ones that I nanny from everything.
Since I started working as a full time nanny I have watched two small children learn to crawl, walk, run, and climb. I have been there to make them laugh and comfort them when they cried. I couldn’t help but grow to love these two adventurous tiny humans. I can honestly say if in some twist of fate it ever came down to it I would take a bullet for either or these kids without question. If they needed a kidney or a piece of my liver I would not hesitate. I am not writing this so you will think I am some selfless person but rather so you can understand how much I really love these kids and would never want anything to happen to them.
All that being said I want them to learn, grow, explore, and take some risks. I give them some freedom and let them explore when we go to play groups or drop in centers. Sometimes they fall and get back up, other times they fall and cry; each time they are learning.
A few days ago I was watching both kids. The little girl began to do her usual tour around the main floor; leave the main living and do a big circle through the second living room, through the dining room, then the kitchen and back to the main living room. She did not come around as quickly as she usually did so I called out her name. Being 18months old she tends to ignore me but sometimes makes a sound so I can tell which part of the room she is in but no luck today. As I am walking toward the front of the house where the stairs are I hear some loud bangs followed by her cries. I was beyond devastated; how could I have not fully closed the baby gate?
In that moment I had to put my guilt aside and check her over to make sure she was okay. I comforted her while checking for bumps, blood, or bruises. She looked fine on the first check so I knew she didn’t need immediate medical services.
We spent time cuddling and she was able to calm down. I sent her mother a message telling her what happened and added that she appeared to be okay.
When I tried to put her down a bit later she began to cry. I scooped her back up thinking she just wanted some more cuddles. When I tried later it looked more like she did not want to stand up. I thought maybe she twisted an ankle.
I have first aid training so I began checking her legs one section at a time for pain when I applied pressure. She was content the whole time. Next I moved each of her ankles, knees, and hip joints one at a time. She was still content and did not fuss at all. Finally I applied pressure to her heals to simulate her walking. Again no fussing. I messaged her mom again to explain that I was worried about her legs but that she seemed fine when I moved them around. Her friend who heppens to be a nurse was on her way home and offered to check the little girl out. When she arrived she did a similar exam to the one I had preformed but did some larger movements. Again the little girl was content and did not make a sound. I figured she must have been okay. The next morning I get a message from her mom telling me that her leg had actually been fractured and she now had a cast. I am lucky I work for amazing people who told me not to beat myself up over it and that it could have happened to anyone. For the record I still beat myself up about the whole situation.
As the day went on I got more information about the family’s night at the hospital. The emergency room doctor and nurse had both missed the fracture because the little girl had been so calm throughout everything. The mom had to convince the doctor to do X-rays and thank goodness they did! To parents out there: you know your kids better than anyone so if you have a gut feeling trust it!
To anyone taking care of children make sure you are honest if something happens. Hopefully you work for amazing families to who understand that things happen.
Th guilt I felt was hard to process but I have worked through a lot of it. I did buy her some get well presents including a doll with a cast. I was able to visit with her the next day and she was happy as ever. Her mom said that she spent the evening playing with the toys and colouring book I got her. She also said that was the happiest she had seen her daughter since before her fall.
Sometimes awful things happen; remember that you can’t change what happened but you can choose how you will handle the situation. Be honest, be humble, and be kind.
All the best,