Actress Eva Amurri's talks 'biggest parenting fail': Her infant daughter rolled off the changing table

Every parent has a moment they wish they could re-do, and for mom of 3 Eva Amurri, that moment happened when her oldest, daughter Marlowe, was 4 months old.

In a new interview with People the actress and blogger behind Happily Eva After recalls the moment when she experienced her "biggest parenting fail" and Marlowe "rolled off the changing table".

A lot of parents can relate to this. It happens so much. According to the CDC, about 50% of nonfatal injuries in babies under a year old come from falls. Amurri is hardly the only parent to have this kind of "parenting fail" happen.

Amurri remembers exactly how it happened, telling People: "I literally turned my back for a second to grab diapers out of the closet, and that's all it took."

According to Cleveland Clinic Pediatrician Dr. Ei Ye Mon, parents should try to avoid multitasking and keep their hands on the baby, but, understandably, Amurri made that (very common) mistake as a first-time mama.

"I was the first person in my family to have kids, the first in my friend group ... no one had told me," she says.

Luckily Marlowe (who is now 6 years old) was totally fine and Amurri gives the new parents in her life the advice she wishes she'd received, because she knows that while most babies are totally fine, like Marlowe was, sometimes babies can be seriously injured in a fall. Marlowe's little brother Major suffered a serious head injury when he was 5 months old when a childcare provider dropped him on hardwood floor.

According to Amurri, "he suffered a fractured skull and bleeding on his brain, and was transported by ambulance to Yale Medical Center," but after receiving expert medical care for a couple of days Major came through just fine with no lasting damage.

In both cases Amurri felt guilt and fear and that's why she wants new parents to understand fall prevention and what to do in an emergency.

Here's what you need to know if your baby falls:

1. Don't pick them up immediately

Dr. Ye Mon says if a baby falls check for these signs before picking them up:

  • Obvious skull fractures
  • Bruising or swelling along the head
  • Discharge or blood coming out of the nose or ears
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Seizures
  • Obvious broken bones in other parts of the body

If any of these things are happening call 911 and don't move your baby. The only exception is if your baby is having a seizure, in which case you should gently roll them onto their side. If they're not having a seizure, but do have one of the above injuries, don't move them.

"With head traumas, it's possible that they've also injured their neck or spine, and you don't want to possibly worsen the injury by moving them," Dr. Ye Mon explains.

If none of the above signs are happening and your baby is conscious and crying, go ahead and pick them up.

In a case where no injuries are obvious "you're probably much more upset than the baby is," Dr. Jen Trachtenberg, author of The Smart Parent's Guide: Getting Your Kids through Check Ups, Illnesses and Accidents, tells Fatherly.

2. Console your baby + get medical advice 

If there are no signs of injury and your baby is crying just pick them up and offer comfort.

If the baby stops crying and is quickly distracted by play or toys they're likely going to be like Marlowe was—just fine. Still, you should keep a close eye on them and don't hesitate to seek medical attention.

According to Diana Spalding, Motherly's Senior Education Editor who is also a midwife and pediatric nurse, it is important to keep a close eye on the child for any concerning signs, even if they seem to be okay immediately after the fall.

Worrisome findings might include:

  • Vomiting
  • Irritability
  • Pain when they move their head
  • Drowsiness
  • Changes in their behavior
  • Changes in their sleep pattern

"If parents have any concerns at all, it's never wrong to have them evaluated by a doctor to be on the safer side, especially at that age," says Dr. Ye Mon.

Spalding agrees. She always tells her patients to remember that health care providers exist for this exact reason! "Please don't worry about 'bothering us'—this is our job, she says. "I would so much rather you reach out to a provider because you suspect a problem and find out that all is well, than the opposite. It is okay to trust your gut, when your gut tells you something is up."

If you are having trouble deciding whether to seek medical attention consider the advice of Dr. Bianca Edison, the attending physician at Children's Hospital Los Angeles' Children's Orthopaedic Center.

Edison says the height of the fall matters and suggests seeking medical attention if a child is less than two years of age and sustains a fall more than three feet, or if a child is over two years of age and has sustained a fall more than five feet.

3. Forgive yourself 

Knowing your baby fell because your hand wasn't there is hard, but don't beat yourself up if it happens to you, mama.

The statistics and the experiences of parents like Amurri prove that these things do happen. Guilt trips are not going to help and a fall doesn't make you a bad parent.

As Amurri says, "I think we all have moments where we wish we were paying attention more—that we knew better when we didn't...You just really have to forgive yourself and move forward."

These challenges from Nike PLAYlist are exactly what my child needs to stay active

Plus a fall family bucket list to keep everyone moving all season long.

While it's hard to name anything that the pandemic hasn't affected, one thing that is constantly on my mind is how to keep my family active despite spending more time indoors. Normally, this time of year would be spent at dance and gymnastics lessons, meeting up with friends for games and field trips, and long afternoon playdates where we can all let off a little steam. Instead, we find ourselves inside more often than ever before—and facing down a long winter of a lot more of the same.

I started to search for an outlet that would get my girls moving safely while we social distance, but at first I didn't find a lot of solutions. Online videos either weren't terribly engaging for my active kids, or the messaging wasn't as positive around the power of movement as I would like. Then I found the Nike PLAYlist.

I always knew that Nike could get me moving, but I was so impressed to discover this simple resource for parents. PLAYlist is an episodic sports show on YouTube that's made for kids and designed to teach them the power of expressing themselves through movement. The enthusiastic kid hosts immediately captured my daughter's attention, and I love how the physical activity is organically incorporated in fun activities without ever being specifically called out as anything other than play. For example, this segment where the kids turn yoga into a game of Paper Scissors Rock? Totally genius. The challenges from #TheReplays even get my husband and me moving more when our daughter turns it into a friendly family competition. (Plus, I love the play-inspired sportswear made just for kids!)

My daughter loves the simple Shake Ups at the beginning of the episode and is usually hopping off the couch to jump, dance and play within seconds. One of her favorites is this Sock Flinger Shake Up activity from the Nike PLAYlist that's easy for me to get in on too. Even after we've put away the tablet, the show inspires her to create her own challenges throughout the day.

The best part? The episodes are all under 5 minutes, so they're easy to sprinkle throughout the day whenever we need to work out some wiggles (without adding a lot of screen time to our schedule).

Whether you're looking for simple alternatives to P.E. and sports or simply need fun ways to help your child burn off energy after a day of socially distanced school, Nike's PLAYlist is a fun, kid-friendly way to get everyone moving.

Need more movement inspiration for fall? Here are 5 ways my family is getting up and getting active this season:

1. Go apple picking.

Truly, it doesn't really feel like fall until we've picked our first apple. (Or had our first bite of apple cider donut!) Need to burn off that extra cinnamon-sugar energy? Declare a quick relay race up the orchard aisle—winner gets first to pick of apples at home.

To wear: These Printed Training Tights are perfect for when even a casual walk turns into a race (and they help my daughter scurry up a branch for the big apples).

2. Visit a pumpkin patch.

We love to pick up a few locally grown pumpkins to decorate or cook with each year. Challenge your child to a "strongman" contest and see who can lift the heaviest pumpkin while you're there.

To wear: Suit up your little one in comfort with this Baby Full Zip Coverall so you're ready for whatever adventures the day brings.

3. Have a nature scavenger hunt.

Scavenger hunts are one of my favorite ways to keep my daughter preoccupied all year long. We love to get outside and search for acorns, leaves and pinecones as part of our homeschool, but it's also just a great way to get her exercising those gross motor skills whenever the wiggles start to build up.

To wear: It's not truly fall until you break out a hoodie. This cozy Therma Elite Kids Hoodie features a mesh overlay to release heat while your child plays.

4. Have a touch-football game.

Tip for parents with very little kids: It doesn't have to last as long as a real football game. 😂 In fact, staging our own mini-games is one of our favorite ways to get everyone up and moving in between quarters during Sunday football, and I promise we all sleep better that night.

To wear: From impromptu games of tag to running through our favorite trails, these kids' Nike Air Zoom Speed running shoes are made to cover ground all season long.

5. Create an indoor obstacle course.

Pretending the floor is lava was just the beginning. See how elaborate your personal course can get, from jumping on the couch to rolling under the coffee table to hopping down the hallway on one foot.

To wear: These ready-for-any-activity Dri-FIT Tempo Shorts are perfect for crawling, hopping and racing—and cuddling up when it's time to rest.

This article was sponsored by Nike. Thank you for supporting the brands that supporting Motherly and mamas.

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