My toddler trapped his finger in the door a few months ago. Actually, correction, I trapped his finger in the door, and bloody hell did I feel awful about it. This was Mum guilt x1000 – It was on a different level.
Of course, trapping a finger in the door is something that we’ve all done at some point in our lives. Most probably multiple times. Been there, done that, got the t shirt. Box ticked.
But even though we’ve all done it to ourselves, that doesn’t stop the sheer panic we feel it’s one of our little ones tiny fingers. And then the inevitable questions that follow – Is it broken? Is it going to heal properly? Or even – is their finger actually still there!
My toddler trapped his finger in the door and it was actually OK!
Here’s our trapped finger story for any panic stricken parents out there:
It was a Sunday morning and as usual Cupar was full of energy. After playing with his toys in the bedroom for a bit, he decided that he wanted to go downstairs. Ever the obliging Mum, I unwrapped myself from my warm cocoon of blankets and followed him to the door.
We walked out of the bedroom, Cupar stood on the landing to wait for me, and I shut the bedroom door. Suddenly, and without warning, I was subjected to the most ear splitting scream I’d ever heard.
Almost jumping out of my skin, I looked down at Cupar, worried that he’d fallen down the stairs. Luckily, he was still next to me. Then my stomach started doing flips. I realised that he couldn’t move. His finger was stuck in the door, which had clicked shut, and he was trapped.
I threw the door open, grabbed his hand and just hugged him. He was crying, I was crying. I didn’t want to let go because I was convinced that I’d see only half a finger, and the thought actually made me feel sick.
Calming him down, I gingerly had a look. The finger was still there!! Cue secret celebration. I scooped him up and ran downstairs before plonking him on the sofa so that I could get a better look.
Was it broken?
Although he was still crying and obviously in pain, his finger actually looked OK. It was starting to swell and bruise a little bit, but he could move it, and I was happy with that. I was still worried that it could be broken, but movement is always a good sign. I decided to keep an eye on it during the day and see if anything changed.
Once the initial shock had worn off, we gave Cupar an ice lolly to help with the swelling and put some cartoons on. The ice lolly was one of those ones that you push up from the bottom of a cardboard cone. This had 2 benefits – it acted as a cold compress on his finger, and also acted as a distraction from what had just happened.
Although I was on edge all day (and couldn’t walk past the bedroom door without breaking out into a cold sweat), Cupar pretty much carried on as normal.
He’d hold his finger out in front of him and say Ow! at random intervals, but mostly, he was OK. The swelling and bruising settled a bit by the evening and he let me have a look at it and touch it, so that made me feel better.
We had a few weeks of different coloured bruises before everything calmed down and seemed to go back to normal. Cupar started using his finger more and more and life carried on.
Though he did put his fingers in the hinge and look at me laughing every time he went past the bedroom door. Mum guilt.
Had everything gone back to normal?
A little while after our trapped finger in the door incident I noticed that Cupar’s nail had gone orange while he was playing with some playdough. The playdough was orange, so it wasn’t totally weird, just a bit unusual that he’d get so much stuck under his nail.
I grabbed my phone and put the torch on to see what was going on. Upon closer inspection, I realised that his nail was beginning to lift up from the finger. Having never seen anything like this before, I must admit that I did freak out a little bit.
Over the next few days and weeks, it started lifting up more and more and turning white, indicating that the nail wasn’t attached to the finger anymore. Obviously, I was terrified that he’d catch it on something and rip the whole thing off. I wriggled it a little bit and it didn’t really move, so I decided to keep a close eye on it and see how it went.
Cupar obviously knew something was wrong because he didn’t use that finger as much as the other ones, which was good. I’d told him to be gentle with it, and he did listen.
The night the nail came off…
One night while I was getting him ready for bed, I noticed that the nail was starting to split across his finger. I tried to cut it off so that he didn’t catch it during the night, but he totally freaked out and wouldn’t let me touch it.
I put a plaster on it and decided to reassess the situation in the morning. The next morning the plaster and the nail had disappeared!! After a quick search I found both of them hidden at the bottom of the bed.
A nail coming off is a weird thing, because you can see parts of the finger that you’re not really meant to see. I didn’t know what to do with it. Cupar didn’t seem to be in any pain, so I left it alone. The new nail had started to grow back, and his finger felt OK to the touch.
As it turned out, leaving it alone was the best thing to do. The new nail grew back quite quickly, and in no time at all it was like nothing had ever happened.
The nail has a small bump on it, but I think that’s due to the nail bed getting a little bit damaged when it was shut in the door. Apart from that, everything seems fine. No pain, no restrictions in movements, just a normal finger.
So even though my toddler trapped his finger in the door and it was all very scary at the time, everything turned out OK.
So what do I do when my toddler traps their finger in the door?
- Don’t panic – Easier said than done I know!
- Assess the situation – I.E is it hanging off, or do you have time to sit them down and have a look?
- Determine whether it needs medical attention – If it’s obviously broken and pointing the wrong way, then get your arse up to A&E.
- Calm them down and grab something cold – Ice lollies, frozen peas – anything to help with swelling
- Sit them in front of the TV and give them a sweet treat – This works wonders for distracting them from the pain
- Keep an eye on it – If it doubles in size, they can’t move it or the bruising keeps getting worse then consider a trip to doctors or A&E
Whether it was you that shut the door, or your toddler, the worst thing you can do is to blame yourself. Toddlers are forever getting into places that they shouldn’t, and unless you have eyes in the back of your head, you can’t prevent every little accident from happening.