You’re Never Wrong For Calling 911 If You Think Your Child Is In Danger

ambulanceIf you’re an anxious mom, it can be tough to know when you have a legitimate cause for concern over your child or when your anxieties are getting the better of you. But when it comes to a possible emergency, it’s better to be seen as the parent who overreacted than the parent who didn’t act fast enough.

One of my sons has a tendency to hold his breath when he’s crying and really upset, but he always starts to breath when he gets to be slightly purple. Or he did, up until this past weekend.

It was early morning and my husband and I were in the kitchen making breakfast while our twin two-year-olds played. Our kitchen has a cutout to the living room, so we can keep an eye on them. One of the boys started to cry and my husband said he thought the baby had tripped over his popcorn popper.The crying seemed disproportionately loud compared to the not very hard thud I’d heard when he fell, and I didn’t see any blood or obvious bleeding, but I went to my son and scooped him up to comfort him.

He started to silent cry and hold his breath as he arched back in my arms and was closer to blue than I’ve ever seen him when he finally inhaled a huge gasp of air. I pulled him towards my chest to soothe him, and he slumped forward face down in my arms and suddenly fell quiet. I was confused, I thought maybe he was snuggling into me, but in a moment I realized that he didn’t appear to be conscious. I screamed for my husband who was still in the kitchen. I knelt and placed my son on the floor on his back, where I could see his eyes rolling wildly in his head. The first thought that popped into my mind was, “He’s having a seizure,” so I panicked and called 911.

It look about five seconds to get from my son to the phone and back again. By the time I was kneeling back at his side he had come to and was screaming robustly. I relayed the incident to the 911 dispatcher, who seemed dubious that anything was wrong with him since he was crying loud enough for her to hear him. I too, felt foolish because even though he was unresponsive for a few seconds, he seemed to be alert and fine besides the crying. Because I had made the call the dispatcher had no choice but to send out an ambulance.

My husband had come out of the kitchen and when I told him the ambulance was on his way, he was incredulous and accused me of overreacting. From his perspective and the vantage point of the incident he had from the kitchen, he saw the baby cry, go quiet for a few seconds and then start to cry again (He’s since conceded that were he in my position he most likely would have called 911 as well). So while we waited for the EMTs to arrive, him angry, me dealing with the adrenaline coursing through my body, I fretted over whether he was right, whether I would be the story the EMTs told over today’s lunch about the neurotic mom who dialed 911 for no reason.

By the time the EMTs arrived, my son was calm, dry eyed and perched on my hip like nothing had happened, adding to my mortification. I felt foolish inviting the EMTs in, like it was a dinner party and I hadn’t prepared any appetizers. I explained what had happened and while the EMTs thought it wasn’t a seizure, they believed my son had passed out briefly due to the lack of oxygen. They pronounced him healthy and we decided he didn’t need to go to the hospital. To their everlasting credit, the EMTs were very gracious and said I did the right thing by calling.

I spent the rest of the weekend replaying the incident in my head and wondering if I made the right call. I didn’t see my son fall, so he could have injured himself worse than I thought, and I didn’t know that he would regain consciousness so quickly. I’m thankful that my child wasn’t seriously hurt and I feel like this experience has helped me learn more about who I am as a parent. For what it’s worth, the internet says I did the right thing by calling. Even though part of me is embarrassed, I’m at peace with how I reacted to the situation. I’d rather feel foolish for calling too quickly then forever angry with myself for not calling 911 at all.


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