going to the ER and them calling child services

Rosie - posted on 08/07/2010 ( 36 moms have responded )




ok, so the other day my 3 year old was supposed to be taking a nap, and i heard a HUGE crash. i ran upstairs and his dresser had fallen on top of him, along with a tv. i took him to the ER, to make sure he was alright, and right before we were leaving the doctor informed me he was going to have to call child services and report this incident. i would most likely be getting a call from them to schedule a visit.
now, in hindsight i realize how much of an oversight it was to not bolt the dresser down. i just always had the "it can't happen to me" syndrome. while i know it's no excuse to be maybe jeapordizing your childs safety, i just can't shake the feeling that calling child services is a bit too much. i now feel that i don't want to take my children to the ER for anything now if they are going to sick CS on me. i could understand it if my children were constantly coming in with injuries, but one time? i don't know. part of me gets it, most of me doesn't. what do you think? am i being too sensitive, and should just shut up and take my punishment? or do you think it's a deterrant (as i do) to have people take their kids in for injuries if they feel they are going to have CS called on them everytime their kid gets hurt?


Mary - posted on 08/08/2010




Really not trying to be argumentative, but there was something I wanted to point out:

Many of you seem to think it's a bit of overkill that they made this referral based on one trip to the ER. What all hopsital staff know is that while it may be your first visit to this particular hospital, it does not mean that you have not had several visits to other area hospitals. The fact is, in most cases of abuse, the parents will intentionally go to several different facilities to avoid flags being raised. They also will often go to hospitals that are further away from their house. With the way that current privacy laws are set up, they only have access to that knowledge IF the parent divulges it, and unless it is a life threatening emergency, they cannot obtain records of these visits unless the reponsible guardian signs a disclosure form allowing those other hospitals to release those records. The only way to ascertain that this is not the case is to involve CPS. In this day and age, they really have no choice but to be suspicious - after all, an abuser is not going to announce to the world what they are doing. And, Kati does live in the US....which means if it turns out that her child was in fact being abused, but the ER did nothing about it, and that child ended up dead or seriously injured sometime down the line, there were be a thread on here about how horrible the healthcare system is...this child was already seen once in the ER with a "funny" injury, but that fool of a doctor was too busy to notice that things were amiss, and they failed this child by not reporting the first incident when it happened.

It is a sad truth in healthcare that you must be suspicious of almost every patient you see...many, many patients either outright lie, or do not tell the complete truth about themselves, their practices, or their history. Abusers tend to be extremely skilled at lying, distraction and manipulation. They are not all obnoxious dirtbags - in fact, they tend to be exceptionally pleasant to hospital staff, and appear to be extremely concerned about their victim, and very accomodating and "helpful" to hospital staff.
It is why healthcare providers are encouraged to be suspicious, and report any little thing that seems a bit questionable. Sadly, it is jsut a reflection of the reality of the world we live in.

Mary - posted on 08/07/2010




Aghhh, Kati, I'm so sorry for BOTH of you...I can only imagine how scary that must have been.

I understand your reaction, but let me try to put a different spin on it, from a nurse's perspective.

You have to remember that the ER staff does not know YOU. They have only this brief interaction with you and your child, and your description of the events that transpired. Sadly, they do see a number of cases where children are either neglected or abused. They have neither the time, resources nor means to investigate every patient they see, or to even get a really good feel of you as a parent. Federal law mandates that certain injuries in minors be reported to the appropriate authorites in attempt to prevent abused children from slipping through the cracks. Even so, it happens all to often, as we see on the daily news. Often times, these children have had a number of ER visits, but no took the time to report a suspicious occurence, and the results were disatorous.

You either hit an unusally dilligent doc, or one who has been burned before by not acting on something a little "off" - and is now no longer willing to chance missing a single blessed thing. I can only imagine the guilt that other practioners must feel when they see a child mortally injured who had been in their ER just a few weeks before with a lesser injury, and they didn't take the time to investigate. I know it would kill me.

I know I would be horrified if I were you...but try not to take it too personally. As I said, that ER doc has no way of really knowing you, or what kind of parent you are. He really is just doing his job - just perhaps a little more cautiously and throroughly than some. It really is not a "punishment", nor is it in any way a reflection on you as a mother.

Brandy - posted on 08/10/2010




I can understand your frustration and annoyance at this but I think it's a good thing. Even if they call CS on 10 different families and are only actually right about 1, it's totally been worth it just to save that one child.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 08/10/2010




Oh, and to further my point, someone should file a report on him for scaring people for seeking treatment. Mothers SHOULD NOT be scared to bring there children into the ER becouse of accidents. That makes my stomach turn.

Caitlin - posted on 08/08/2010




Oh man, I feel for you. I don't bolt anything down here, because so far, she doesn't climb on anything, even the couch, she still asks to get up and down. have the anti topple things which I think are even better than bolting things down, where a small bracket gets screwed to the top and a cavas ribbon-like thing gets screwed from that to the wall. It makes it much easier to move it (just 1 screw to undo) when you want to clean underneath or, Murphy's Law states of course that they favorite book/toy/ whatever will fall behind there RIGHT before bedtime.. every night.. by accident..

I don't think it's an over reaction much, much more of a hassle... I'd hate them to come over here right now (or since either of my kids have been born). We've been doing extensive renovations and we still have open walls with no drywall (the plugs and electrical are all protected by sheets of plywood) and a huge sheet is nailed to hang over it not not make it an "eyesore", but in reality, it's probably not the safest (but neighter is having faulty electrical wiring, so I guess you have to deal with one to get the other fixed..)

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Lyndsay - posted on 08/11/2010




I understand where you're coming from. I once had a similar situation to yours, my 2.5 year old was supposed to be napping and heard a big bang.. turns out he climbed on top of his dresser and squeezed himself in between the wall and his TV, which toppled to the floor. I remember thinking, thank god he was on that side of the television! Point is -- shit happens. Kids get injured. On the other hand, I'm glad that hospitals do stuff like that. It is extremely frustrating for innocent parents who have to go through it, but think of how many children actually are being abused... especially with younger children who can't speak for themselves, how else would anybody know if the doctors didn't speak up?

Lea - posted on 08/10/2010




Well maybe they are just coming over to make sure you have the house child proofed. Try not to take offense - try to think of it as experts there to help you out because honestly thats what they are - unless you abuse your kid - then they are really cops.

Ava - posted on 08/10/2010




Kids will have accidents, but you have every right to be scared. The CYS around my area would take away kids that were well cared for but maybe had a few accidents, and leave kids with mothers or parents who were clearly constantly doing drugs and constantly drunk in the house, whose living conditions were pitiful, and consequently, last January, a girl I knew left her two month old son out in the freezing snow in the middle of the winter for an hour, and he froze to death. When examining him, he had signs of dehydration and malnutrition, same with her two older kids. If CYS had done their job the first time, that boy could have been saved. But they don't do their jobs. Hospitals try to help out by calling child services if they see ANY suspicious *anything*, and I understand the worry and compassion, but I avoid taking my daughter to the ER whenever I can specifically *because* of that. I have learned to treat a lot of injuries myself to lessen the need of going to the ER, both for that, and for the fact of money.

Stifler's - posted on 08/10/2010




Abuse is usually well hidden though. Kids don't say anything wives don't say anything, husbands don't say anything. Sometimes close family don't even suspect so how would a doctor that doesn't know you suspect? It's better to call child services than have one of the kids come in in a body bag.

LaCi - posted on 08/10/2010




I think that's ridiculous. They should only be called if the doctor is suspicious of abuse. Accidents happen, I can't even imagine how many times my kid will end up in the ER in his lifetime lol. (he's a bit... wild to say the least)

~♥Little Miss - posted on 08/10/2010




WTF! HELL NO! This is a medical Dr who is not only fully trained medical person, but has some amount of training to recognize when abuse is present. What an ass.

C. - posted on 08/10/2010




Uh, well.. This is a tough one. On one hand, I understand where the doctor is coming from being concerned for the child's safety (no offense to you or anything at all) but at the same time.. If your child isn't constantly coming in and the injuries are not consistant with any form of abuse.. I don't know how I would feel, to be honest. I'm sorry you have to go through that, though.

Sarah - posted on 08/10/2010




Boys will be boys. My son falls over all the time, bumps his head, walks into things etc. He's got bruises on his legs like many little boys have.

I understand how you feel, when i took my son last year to the accident and emergency, my mum told me afterwards that i might get a call from my health visitor. In the UK, every child that books into the A&E is reported back to the health visitor or social services. My health visitor informed me of this a few months ago. She told me it's just to see if your coping ok and if the child is doing fine. Yes they more than likely do check for signs of abuse, but that's their job.

I was petrified when i was told i might get a call from social services or the health visitor because i thought they'd think i'd hurt my child purposely. My son went twice last year within the space of a month. The first time he was laying on my bed while his dad read his book. My husband picked something off the floor and then my son fell off the bed (he was laying too close to the edge and rolling from side to side) and as he fell, he landed face first onto a glass. The glass shattered and slashed all his face. I heard the bang so came running upstairs and his face was pouring with blood. It wasnt very nice at all. He had glass in stuck in his face and it wouldnt stop bleeding and it was so close to his eye. Thankfully he was ok and didn't need any stitches. And i didn't get a call from anyway, thank goodness but i was worrying for a whole month. And then the next time, my son was running around the room, going through my husbands legs. Then he tripped over and landed face first on the floor with his dummy in his mouth. And when i picked him up, he was bleeding loads from his mouth. We started taking him A&E but he stopped bleeding on the way so i didnt know whether to take him or not because of the fear of getting that call from the health visitor or social services. So i took him to my mums (shes a nurse) and she rang NHS direct up and they told us to take him to A&E because it's classed as a head injury. Got there and turned out he'd cut the skin that's attached to your gum and top lip. And thankfully i didn't get a call.

There's been too many cases of child abuse that wasn't picked up and it's been too late. But then there's been cases where the parent is innocent and the child gets taken away. But i think it's good what the doctors do, because all they are trying to do is protect the children from abuse. We moan about the social services not doing their job but when they do put something in place, people moan so they can't win !

It's a good thing they are doing this to help prevent furthur deaths in child abuse. Don't worry about it, tell the truth and act natural. Accidents happen and they will know what little boys are like. Hope the meeting goes well for you and i'm sure everything will be fine :)

Shelley - posted on 08/09/2010




Hi Kati,
I know this is just another story but it might help when i was 2 i found a raiser in the bath and shaved my chest 6 times long large cuts my dad came to get me and passed out i suppose walking in and seeing your 2 year old in a bath of blood isn't nice anyway mum got me out fixed me up ect 2 weeks later all that was left were 6 red marks i was a bad asthmatic and dad had to take me to the hospital when they lifted my shirt to check my chest here were these welts they thought i had been wipped
family services and the police were called my dad was taken away mum was called at home any way after long interviews ect for myself and everyone it was all sorted and i was released back into my parents care even now its on my medical file but these things do tend to work themselves out.

Rosie - posted on 08/09/2010




you know what? all of you guys sharing your stories makes me feel a bit better, lol!! makes me realize that everybody makes mistakes, and me not being a perfect mother is "normal". thanks!! :)

Hannah - posted on 08/09/2010




My son broke his collar bone at 1 1/2 from falling. My mom and I took him to urgent care and they wouldn't let me back while he was x-rayed because I was pregnant. I was sobbing! The thought of my son having a broken collar bone broke my heart. The doctor never threatened and even said things like this happen all the time. If they were to see me again with another broken collar bone I would understand.

I know that abusers go to different ER's. I was so worried that the doc was thinking that I was a child abuser and almost felt embarassed even though I had done nothing wrong. So, to even feel accused is insulting and embarassing. I understand their worry though.

Sharon - posted on 08/09/2010




And Ashie = you're wrong.

The news is full of plenty of moms who didn't do anything wrong and yet lost custody of their kids. Someone makes an accusation, whether it can be proven or not - some times child services will take your child until the truth is or isn't determined.

is it right? they're protecting the child. Or do they need to show that they've been working by bringing a trophy back to work?

I do agree - better safe than sorry. Especially in regards to child abuse.

Catherine - posted on 08/09/2010




Kati, I'm glad to hear that your son is ok. I think you certainly should feel upset because you are being accused of something you didn't do, but at the same time, I think the doctor did the right thing. A number of responses cited "it's only the first incident," but often with abuse cases, parents visit different ERs each time as to avoid a paper trail, and doctors know that, so they can't not report a first-time incident. You also should definitely allow CPS into your house, comply with them (as I'm sure they're going to ask you to bolt down furniture), and grin and bear it, as arguing with them is only going to make you look guilty of something you didn't do. The way I see it, if a doctor's vigilance saves one child from an abusive home, then me spending an hour talking to someone from CPS is worth it.

[deleted account]

Awww Kati, I'm sorry it happened, but I'm glad the little guy is okay. I agree with those that say better safe than sorry. And you should pass the home inspection with flying colors so don't stress! When I was not even two, I had stitches in my mouth twice within 2 months. CPS interviewed my mom at the hospital. She was a basketcase to begin with because I was in the ER, and then they were bombarding her with questions! At least you have time to prepare a little. As annoying as it is, think of all the children that have been protected by vigilant doctors and CPS.

Jenni - posted on 08/09/2010




That's ridiculous! I'm pretty sure every parent has experienced an accident of some sort! We can't fore see everything. I think every parent i've talked to have had at least one similar incident. My brother fell down a flight of stairs when he was 2 and my mom had to take him to emergency. Just last week my son was in the yard with my husband. My husband was cutting the grass when he realized he had left out the gas jug. He turned around just as my son came running towards him screaming smelling of gasoline! I was inside nursing my daughter when i hear the two of them come in the door and my screaming. I freaked right out grabbed my son who was telling me his tummy hurt. We thought he injested some of it and couldn't find the # for poison control quick enough so i told my husband to dial 911. EMS came and didn't believe he injested any so we didn't take him to emergency. My husband was so shooken up and feeling like a horrible dad but the EMS attendants assured him that these things happen all the time. I think it's if they happen ALL the time then there may be a problem. A one time occurence is a bit uncalled for a call to CS. I would find it completely insulting if that had happen to me. On top of having a really bad scare with you son. Just adding insult to injury.

April - posted on 08/09/2010




i have had this happen to me before. i took my son to the ER because i thought he had ingested baby vicks vaopr rub. he was in his crib taking a nap. when i went to get him he had the vicks all over his face. how he got it was: he reached over his crib and grabbed it. in hindsight i should have put it away, but i didn't think he could reach.

well...the ER said if they see him again they will call CPS

and it turns out that baby vicks is non toxic but i still got the threat! it made me never want to go to an ER again

Stifler's - posted on 08/08/2010




It's policy, nothing to do with his discretion. He could get in big trouble if it turns out someone is abusing their child and he didn't report injuries. If you have nothing to hide don't worry about CS, they're not unreasonable people and plus they hardly ever take kids off their parents even if they are abusive.

[deleted account]

Its not nice but a mother with nothing to hide has nothing to fear.Its a good thing and if all doctors did the same many cases would of been caught and the children helped.In your case its a simple accident and its upsetting to you as i would feel the same.Don't worry and just know by them doing this a child who is in need of help will most likely get help out of a bad situation there in..thats what social services is there for.

Krista - posted on 08/08/2010




I agree with Laura and Mary.

This is a royal pain in the nuts, but when you really think about it, it is a good thing. I would hate to think of some poor, abused little kid who never receives the help he needs because he rarely visits the same ER twice.

Take this as an opportunity to review your childproofing, rectify things the best you can, and when the CS visitor comes, ask her to please point out anything that you may have missed, as you want to make sure that your home is safe. Any sensible CS worker can tell the difference between an abused child and a rambunctious one, mostly by how your kid acts in your presence. If he's relaxed and happy and affectionate with you, I think it'd be obvious that he's not abused.

Isobel - posted on 08/08/2010




ummm, no I don't think that would be such a good idea, please don't do that Kati :) Let them come over and see that you are a normal mom, with normal kids that get hurt.

I agree with Mary, it's an entirely necessary service, and I'm glad it's there. If it inconveniences a few of us normal moms, unfortunately it has to, but it's worth it.

I'm glad to hear that he's feeling better though:) let us know how it all goes after the worker comes, I'm sure you'll be fine.

And while I never bolt anything down, if I were you I would go through the house and bolt EVERYTHING down, and install child safety locks on all the cupboards and all that crap just in case you get an anal worker.

Good luck :)

Tara - posted on 08/08/2010




I think you should tell Child Services what happened, tell them you have bolted down all furniture since this incident and while you appreciate their concern and respect their job, you will not be having a visit with them due to the fact it is an invasion of your privacy and rights. If they should receive any more reports from the ER doctor than they are welcome to inquire at that time about a personal visit.

Accidents happen, it is different than a child who is seen in the ER more than one time for "suspicious" injuries. The doctors must be obligated to call in the case of injuries with children, otherwise they are simply making a personal guess based on their own feelings. If it is a mandatory action they must take it is probably in place to catch parents who are abusing their children. But if it is left solely to the doctor to call when he feels something isn't right, that's wrong.

Stand your ground and do your research, know your rights.

And bolt everything down. :)

edited for grammar errors because I'm a grammar nazi. :)

Rosie - posted on 08/08/2010




thank you all for your responses!! and he is fine by the way! forgot to put that in my post. he got a big goose egg on his head where the tv landed (thank goodness it was a little tv) and the dresser landed on his lower half. they did a chest xray and a head CT.

i definitely see both sides of this, i just wish i didn't have to deal with this. i've had to deal with the everlooming threat of CS for years now. all of my kids are failure to thrive, caused by all of them having a condition called diabetes insipidus.
just yesterday my mom and dad had him for a couple hours. my mom took him to the zoo, and when they came home he was excited to see grandpa, and went running for him, tripped and landed right on his forehead. my mom said he looked like he almost stood straight up on his head. so he's got a scraped forehead and 2 scraped knees. then that night, my best friend came over and was playing with him. she took a blanket and threw it on his head, he tripped and fell right into the wall! i can just see how well my visit is going to go. kid who looks like he should be the star of a starving kid commercial-check.
scraped up from your mother, uh huh-check
best friend threw a blanket on him and he hit his head-AGAIN-check. I'M DOOMED!!! sigh...

Ez - posted on 08/08/2010




Bloody kids!! Hope he's ok Kati :)

It does seem a little extreme for one trip to the ER. What sort of injuries does your boy have? I can totally appreciate that the medical staff are just trying to do their job and uphold their duty of care to your son, but it does seem a bit much to me.

When I was almost 3, I broke my wrist. Long story short... my Mum was trying to get me to have a nap before visitors came over to see the new baby (my brother). I was sitting in a bean bag in my room (I remember it clearly) and Mum took my hand while I stood up. I started carrying on again about not having a sleep and CRACK!! Off to the hospital we go for xrays. The break was confirmed and they put on the cast. Now keep in mind this was 1984, and it was totally an accident (caused by my tantrum lol), but the hospital just accepted my Mum's account of what happened. There was no report or investigation at all. If this happened today, DOCS would be all over her, and rightly so. Instead, she just got me telling everyone for the next 10 years that 'Mum broke my arm when I was 2!' lmao

Seriously though, try not to take it as a slight against your character or parenting.

Sarah - posted on 08/08/2010




Firstly, don't feel bad our things aren't bolted to the wall either!!

Personally, I think it's a bit extreme to call CS after just one accident. Although I can kind of understand that they want to cover themselves.

I've had 2 times I've had to take the girls to A&E. The first was when Cadence managed to tip a cup of hot coffee over herself, and the second was when I had Shia in her Bumbo on the table and as I turned around to get something, she managed to twist herself around and fell off the table :(
Both times, the day after my health visitor rang up and asked me a bunch of questions about what happened etc. I did feel like I was on trial a little bit! Nothing else ever came of it though. I suspect if there were more accidents, or if my answers hadn't rung true, it would have been taken further.

It's a tough one, because we don't want kids that ARE being abused to slip through the net so to speak. I would be annoyed if I was you, but I would also know that they're just doing they're jobs.
(if any of that makes sense!)

[deleted account]

I think that CS being called is the Dr being and idiot.

My son at 18 months fell out a window and fractured his skull. He has also been to the ER for spliting his cheek open and on 2 previous ocassions he has also split above his eye open but not bad enough to require a visit to the hospital.

I'm glad i live in australia where they seem to know that children are children and accidents happen.

I don't think anything should be bolted down. None of the Tallboys/ Dressers in our house are. You shouldn't feel like a bad parent for doing the right thing. What about the children out there who when something like that happens their parents ignore it and don't take them to the ER to make sure they are ok?

But i agree with the whole flag it and see if it keep ahppening or not. But then again where would that put me with my son having just turned 2?

Amie - posted on 08/07/2010




Well I don't bolt down our dressers either. You can't protect for everything, crap happens.

Our son broke his leg twice within 6 months. It had nothing to do with anything falling on him. The first time it was because he slipped and landed on his leg wrong. Spiral fracture. The second time it was because they had taken his first cast off too soon, he fell and fractured it again.

The second time we went in the doctor called child services. They interviewed my FIL right there. He was none to pleased about it but it's procedure. I wasn't worried about it because I know we don't abuse or neglect our children.

I wouldn't view it as a punishment either. They may be being extra cautious just because of the nature of the accident but those interviews and investigations do save some children.

I've never thought twice about it because I know we have nothing to worry about. Even our 3rd who is always covered in bruises, scratches and cuts. I can name each one and where it came from though, that child is full on when she plays and it often leads to some injuries.

*Lisa* - posted on 08/07/2010




Arrghhh! Is he ok??
I agree with the others. It's a nuisance for you as a parent to have to go through the CS visit, but at least you know you have nothing to hide. I think it's a good policy and the doctors are just looking out for the kids. It may just be able to help one more child escape an abusive home. But for you, it's really not going to be an issue. Kids will be kids! Good luck :)

Lindsay - posted on 08/07/2010




I can understand your feelings of being questioned over an innocent accident BUT I think it's a good policy. Let them come to your home and comply with them so they can check out the situation and clear it as just that, an accident. Kids that are going into the hospital that have been abused aren't likely going to tell the doctor that the injury is a result of someone lashing out on the child, they are going to make some excuse or story as to what caused the injury. It's not fair to the children being hurt to have to go in multiple times to get that red flag raised. If they have to check every single case, so be it. It's a policy in place to protect children, and while it can seem a nuisanse to the parents in there for something innocent, it's a good policy to have in place.

Sharon - posted on 08/07/2010




I think the injuries need to be specifically indicative of child abuse and not just any injury. Anything that is nebulous black eyes, odd fractures etc, there needs to be a flag on the medical records in case of repeat visits.

It was always my fear that the kids would get a weird injury and I wouldn't be able to prove I didn't do it. Both boys got black eyes while playing. My daughter never has. But good lord, they crash face first into everything. OMG one time my son was running with 2 1/2 ft long plastic toy helicopter - he fell face first onto the blade/rotor of the thing made a puncture mark in his forehead. It looked just like he'd been poked with a phillips head screwdriver.

I was just so glad once they were able to talk for themselves! Then I could just sit back and them talk the doctors' ears off with their roundabout stories of how they got hurt. hahahahaha

♏*PHOENIX*♏ - posted on 08/07/2010




There have been many times when parents or the parent/guardians go to the ER and come find out they are abusing there children or child…..thay have done wrong to there kids and the doctors end up looking the other away or believed what the story they tell....and then in the end get in hot water with the CPS people...that i think over shadows the parents who’s kids really did hurt them self by accident…..

Sorry you have to go through that…its not fair,

on one hand it’s good the doc is concerned, but from the stand point of “I really didn’t hurt my child” its upsetting for you….I don’t think at all you are being sensitive…..good luck with it and hopefully after they talk with you they will leave you be.

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