Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Warning to parents of toddlers

If you have a toddler and haven't heard of nursemaid's elbow, read on... this may save you a lot of frustration and money some day.

Two Saturdays ago I was walking with Ethan, holding his hand when he tripped and fell.  I pulled on his right arm to help him up and suddenly felt something pop. His arm went limp and he started crying. 

Becky and I had no idea want went wrong; he was inconsolable for what seemed like a long time. So we decided we'd better take him to the ER. 

While at the ER, Ethan continued to cry, especially if we moved or touched his right arm. When the nurse took his temperature, he fought it like he usually does, but a few minutes later he was acting like nothing had happened!

When the doctor finally saw him an hour later, he explained that Ethan probably had nursemaid's elbow, an injury which affects many toddlers when their extended arms are pulled. When Ethan was fighting the nurse, he likely popped his dislocated elbow joint back into place, and now he was fine.

Becky and I were happy it was nothing worse and went on home.

Flash forward one week. We left Ethan with a friend of ours and neglected to tell her about our little ER visit the previous week.

After a nice date in Little Rock, we return to pick up Ethan, and the babysitter tells us how she was swinging him around by his arms when all of the sudden he started crying uncontrollably. This time his left arm is limp and hurting.


So here we go again to the ER. This time it's 4 hours before we see the doctor, and the nurse doesn't take his temperature, so the elbow doesn't get popped back in by itself.

After X-rays confirm nothing is broken, the doctor wiggles the joint back into place, and Ethan is fine once more. We again return home, thankful it wasn't worse but very frustrated that we have spent two Saturday nights in a row in the ER.  I dread seeing the bill.

Take-away point: Don't pull your toddler by the arm until he/she is at least 4. Sounds like common sense, but I can't be the only clueless parent out there.