Today my son bit his tongue. HARD.

Climbing.
Climbing.

Parents: Have you ever FREAKED out over your child's injury?

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The tongue pre-incident.
The tongue pre-incident.
24 hours later.
24 hours later.

He was climbing on a kitchen chair - most likely to get onto the table, as he so often does. Somehow, between when I said, “Sam, sit down before you fall,” and when I heard the bang, my 1-year-old lost his footing and fell to the floor.

Now, this is a regular occurrence around here. I get him down from that table a dozen or so times a day, but every once-in a while my hands are full or I’m in the bathroom, and I just don’t get there in time. He’ll fall and fuss a little. I’ll give him a hug and a kiss and tell him he’s okay. And then he is.

But not today.

Today, when I picked him up for the standard comforting routine, I noticed a little blood on his wrist. So I grabbed a clean dish rag, began to dab the red away, and told my 5-year-old to find whatever his brother got cut on.

By this time, the kid was screaming like a banshee, so I took my attention away from his wrist to look him in the eye and comfort him.  Blood was pouring from his mouth, mixed with mucus from his allergy-ridden nose, and I panicked!

You know those movies where a guy gets shot in the throat and he bleeds out through his mouth? Yeah? Well that’s what I saw. Only it wasn’t just a movie; it was my BABY! The one I almost died for in childbirth. The one whose anticipated arrival convinced my fiancé and me to give coupledom a try. Hence the panic.

“Oh, God, please let Sam be okay!” I moaned. My 3 preschool-aged children immediately began freaking out, coming close to see the blood, gasping, telling me what had happened (as if I hadn’t been there and didn’t already know).

“Dear Jesus, make my baby brother be okay,” I heard the 3-year-old say matter-of-factly.

I grabbed a teether from the freezer, shoved it in his mouth and calmly said, “Guys, I know you’re trying to help. But I’m a little worried right now, and the best way for you to help is to be quiet for a few minutes.” Surprisingly, they listened, which gave me the presence of mind to sop up the blood in Sam’s mouth with the rag. I was then able to see a hole about the size of the top third of my pinky in his tongue. As I promptly replaced the ice, it was my turn to gasp.

Then I called my mommy - surely she would know what to do. Should I take him to the doctor? How would I get there without a car? I could call 911, but then who would take care of the other kids? My dad was at the hospital having his heart checked out; my fiancé was a work; the neighbor’s car only seats 4… Do they even do anything for tongues?

“Why don’t you call the doctor and ask them what they think?” Duh. Why hadn’t I already done that?

“Okay; I’ll do that now. Thanks.” Funny how we realize our need for our mothers only after we become moms ourselves.

“I remember this happening with….” I cut her off with a quick “bye” and dialed the family doctor.

The receptionist took a message, and five V-E-R-Y L-O-N-G minutes later, a nurse called back, assuring me that my son would, in fact, be okay.

So here I am, still in my blood-covered shirt, praising my Father in Heaven that it’s only a 1/2 in. by 1/8 in. cut, and not a severed tongue or internal bleeding, as my mommy-panic first had me thinking. We’ll be going through a lot of popsicles and children’s Motrin over the next few days, but my sweet little daredevil is alive.

And Shout will get the stains out.

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Comments 11 comments

Kathryn Plasencia profile image

Kathryn Plasencia 3 years ago from USA Author

I did what you did. It helps if the cloth is cool & damp, so they're more likely to try to suck on it. But otherwise, it's a waiting game.


Katie 3 years ago

How did you stop the bleeding in his mouth/get ice or something in there without him fighting you? One of the kids I work with did this today, and I knew I should apply pressure, but she was hysterical and wouldn't let me near her mouth without clamping it shut, then opening it and blood pouring out again, I couldn't get to her tongue at all for a long time. The first time I tried to shove a cloth in there, hoping she'd bite on it and help apply pressure, she started thrashing and forcing it out of her mouth. I literally had to sit with her and wipe her mouth and sing until it clotted. It was horrible, we looked like a crime scene. I feel like, as a professional, I should know better how to deal with such injuries in kids who won't cooperate with first line first aid techniques... I feel guilty for not knowing what to do... and I want to know what I can do better next time!


Kathryn Plasencia profile image

Kathryn Plasencia 4 years ago from USA Author

Oh, yes. It's been over 2 years now. There is still a small mark, but nothing you would notice without knowing to look for it.


samantha 4 years ago

Did the cut close up?


Kathryn Plasencia profile image

Kathryn Plasencia 4 years ago from USA Author

Aw, I'm sorry to hear that. Glad I could help.


Kathryn Plasencia profile image

Kathryn Plasencia 4 years ago from USA Author

Thank you. It has actually been quite a while now, and I am breastfeeding his younger brother. ;)


anna 4 years ago

Thank you so much this helped me a lot my son was bouncing in his crib tonight and he bit his toung and I freaked out.... then I looked up what to do and I seen this and it helped me relax and take care of it........ thanks so much


Poonam 4 years ago

If you are breast feeding put milk in baby's mouth immediately or let him suck if he can. It will sooth him and breast milk seem to have a lot of medicinal benefits, so my ped says.Its an initial first aid for any cut or bruise the baby gets.

Hope this helps.


Kathryn Plasencia profile image

Kathryn Plasencia 6 years ago from USA Author

Hi, Adrienne. It took a couple weeks to go back to normal, but only a few days to close up enough for him to eat yummy foods again. I'm sure your little guy will be fine!


Adrienne 6 years ago

My son did the sames thing to his tongue. He was walking towards me and tripped and his chin hit the table, and his two front teeth dug into his tongue. Same length as you said. How long did it take to heal? My Son's tongue stopped bleeding so I assumed it was ok, but today I was feeding him and I still see it. Thanks in advance!


rkhyclak profile image

rkhyclak 6 years ago from Ohio

Aaaah the joys of motherhood! My daughter hasn't bit through her tongue, but she did a number on her bottom lip. She decided to jump off of her potty. I'm a nurse and deal with blood and stuff all the time, but I had myself a little freak out! Glad your baby is doing well!

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