In early July, I had the unfortunate chance of handling my first ever "emergency room" situation - at home. My 19 month old was running around the house, avoiding me because it was time for a diaper change. My sister, Audrey, was over at the time and took Little Olive's arm as ran passed. Immediately, my toddler collapsed into a little tantrum but was brought to me for her diaper change just the same.
In an odd and eerie kind of way, Audrey and I both noticed that something was not right. Little Olive was holding her left arm and crying in a strange kind of way. Even when I picked her up to console her, she was crying and saying, "Boo boo," and "All done!" quite forcefully. Audrey pointed out that her arm was definitely hurt. Little Olive was holding her elbow close to her body, and trying not to move it at all - even the slightest movement caused her to scream.
It had to be broken or dislocated. If I hadn't known better, I would have driven to the hospital. But thankfully, my parents have handled this situation before because my two little sisters had both dislocated their elbows (several times) as young kids. So we called my mom and she was able to direct Audrey to tell me what to do.
Otherwise known as Nursemaid's Elbow, a dislocated elbow needs to be "relocated". You can do this at home, and it's not very hard.
Start by sitting face-to-face with the child. While supporting the elbow with one hand, use your other hand to straighten their arm, palm up, in front of them. Websites and videos will say this causes "slight discomfort" to your child. Um, be warned: it freaking hurts. I actually had to stop and try this part several times because Little Olive's screams were just killing me. But just do it...trying again and again causes more pain than just doing it once and getting it over with.
The next step is to fold their arm up toward their body, and then turn it over, in front of their body. Do this in one motion. You should hear/feel a "pop" as their elbow relocates back into place. Sometimes it's the simple folding of the arm, other times it's the turning. I felt the pop at the turning.
It was really amazing how quickly Little Olive recovered after this. It was as if there was no pain anymore. After cuddling for a moment, she used her injured arm to reach for a bowl of jelly beans. I'd say progress was made!
Nobody ever wants to be in a position where your child is so badly hurt, but this is an easy fix. Practice on your kid so you know what to do in the case of a dislocation. This is a great video with more information and directions on how to fix it. Let's have a safe summer! :)