I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!

By Feature Writer Rebecca Nelson Lubin
guest Once, early in my Nanny career I took a spill that resulted in a 4-inch gash on my shin, cut down to the bone. I was totally freaked out to find myself staring at the inside of my leg, but tried to remain calm, wrapped my sweater around my leg, limped myself and my three year old charge to the nearest phone and called my Mother, as I was only nineteen and still living at home, taking a year off between High School and College. She picked up my charge and me and sat with him at the hospital while a surgeon closed back up my shin with forty stitches, then returned my charge to his Mother, tucked me onto the couch and called my agent (I was pursuing an acting career along with a Nanny career on my gap year.) to tell them I would not be making my callback for the part of the gymnast on “One Life to Live.”
Rebecca Nelson Lubin is a writer and Nanny who resides in the San Francisco Bay Area. You may read more of her articles at



oh well said...

About the Dorito incident, there is
hardly ever a good reason to give a snack in a car.

wth said...

Are these real or made up?

Rebecca said...

wth - oh honey, they all be true! I've been in the nanny business since I was thirteen and I will be forty-four in March. I got some stories babe, and I love to share them with you!
Why am I awake right now? My cute little boyfriend is watching "Tombstone." Again! I've awoke to cable gunfire. Again!

Nanny Elizabeth said...

This story is like my life... although I cut my chin open at 4 on a water fountain, tore a whole in my ankle at 6, fell down stairs and jammed a pencil into my hand at 10, and numerous other injuries!! The worst on the job injury was when I ran to answer the phone, and slid on their wooden buffed as hell floor, and smacked my head on the corner of their patio door. Needless to say, I knocked myself unconscious and woke a little while later to find my charge smiling serenely at me from his mobile swing...... ah memories!! ;)

Tales from the (Nanny)Hood said...

I am not trying to be snarky here, but...

You were a nanny at age 13? Can you tell us about that? I was certainly **babysitting** when I was 13 (and did so until I got my first Nanny position at age 24), but I don't count that time as a part of my "nanny years", so I would like to know more about how you define nannying at 13.

Frankly, I have always mocked people who advertise on CL as, for example, "22 years old with 10 years of nanny experience!" If that's a potentially legitimate claim, I need to know to stop laughing at those people!


Tales from the (Nanny)Hood said...

And to offer a contribution to the actual topic...I've had 3 major issues happen to charges in my 17 year nanny career and one major incident that affected me.

O., aged 3.5, flew off the monkey bars at the park, and broke her arm. With the help of an "angel in discuise", who was there with his small child, I called an ambulance, collected the 6 yo and the 1.5 yo, handed the 3.5 yo and the 6 yo (who rode with little sis to help her be brave in the ambulance, since I couldn't ride with 3 kids and the paramedics!) off to the paramedics, met them at the hospital with the 1.5 yo, and was waiting there when MB came in. MB and DB were nothing but kind and gracious to me, O. wound up with an armpit to right angle at the elbow to finger tip cast on her arm, and was really upset that she couldn't reach her thumbsucking thumb. I still feel badly about what happened, but I do joke that I know only one foolproof method for stopping a thumbsucking habit!

O's little brother J. tripped and fell exactly one year later and split his forehead open on a desk edge. Blood absolutely everywhere. He got stitches from the plastic surgeon on call, MB stayed at work that time, and all was, yet again, just fine. He healed perfectly.

K. was 5 weeks old and her spitting up was getting worse and worse. I knew something was wrong, and was looking out for any sign of trouble. I went in to get her one morning and noted a tiny reddish-brown spot on the cloth iundfer her head. I called the pediatrician, brought baby K. in, and after determining the spot was blood, I called the parents and we all headed to the hospital. K. had pyloric stenosis, which was causing the vomiting. She had surgery the next morning, and was home and fine 2 days later. Another girl was brought in with the same issue on the same day and required more than a day of rehydration IV's because she hadn't been taken to the doctor ASAP. K has an interesting belly scar now, but that's the only sign she ever had a serious issue!

And finally, I was driving home one night after work in the SUV my bosses had purchased for me to use for work and personal time. I made a left turn and a speeder hit me broadside so hard the SUV flipped. After I was extracted and taken to the ER, my DB was called and came in to make sure I was OK. Again, nothing but reassurance and kindness on his and MB's part, even though the SUV was totaled.

I've been quite lucky to have had so few true emergencies in my career, and even luckier to have had employers that didn't lose it when accidents happened.

Tales from the (Nanny)Hood said...
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Tales from the (Nanny)Hood said...
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Rebecca said...

Technically I was what they call a "Mother's Helper" at 13, so you have a definite point! I worked with this first family for years and by age 17 was doing overnights with the kids and we're all still in touch. I consider them the beginning of my Nanny career, but you're right, it is no way close to the responsibilities and the level of work I do now.
Good question and not snarky at all.

cali mom said...

what would happen if you got seriously hurt on the job and ...there was no health insurance,
-You'd go to the County hospital and then wait for the bills to arrive in your mailbox worker’s comp, and while you healed, no salary?
-If you're paid off the books, there IS no worker's comp, disability or unemployment benefit.

What if a child were severely injured while in your care? Would your job be threatened, or even your freedom?
-Depending on the parents, yes and yes.

I was with my son one time when he was 3 and I got my foot sliced open deeply (by a closing door?!) and needed stitches. However, the ambulance driver did not have a child carseat so had to leave me there after calling my husband to come with our carseat and take me to the ER. WTF??

Kristen @ said...
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bostonnanny said...

Cali mom, Can they do that? What would they do it if your accident was much for serious?

In MA everyone is required to have health insurance so if you were under the table you would receive mass health which is meant for individuals who can't afford health care. Its based on you income. So you prob wouldn't have a bill, but you also wouldn't have the best care.

You could still sue the family if you got hurt in their house, but that would be a hassle.

Or you could screw the family over and claim your taxes, and then they would be responsible for paying everything back,lets just hope you had money saved.

If the child got seriously hurt, you could get fired whether your on the books or not. And if your off the books and they have not real proof you worked for them you can deny deny deny.

There are ways around it, its just harder, stressful and time consuming.

Nervous Nanny said...

I nanny for twin 9 month olds, and I worry about injuries all the time.
The other day, I slipped on the hardwood stairs and fell down about 6 steps. Luckily, I was not holding a baby at the time, but got some good bruises of my own.

What I worry about is that, at the time, the babies were in their "play-yard" in another part of the house. What if I had been seriously hurt and unable to get to them? Or even worse, if I had been holding one of them when I fell?

I get worried about my job just when the babies bump their heads, as babies are apt to do. I just worry that the mother will be concerned I am not constantly there. It can be very stressful.

I also babysit some older boys on weekends, and they play rough. Last weekend, one pulled his arm out of the socket playing football. Ugh.

Luckily, I haven't had major injuries on the job, and fingers crossed I won't! But oh man, I worry!

nycsitter13 said...

Just a comment on tales from the nannyhood's stories about the kid's on the job injuries.

Were you close to the 3.5 year old as she was playing on the monkey bars? I don't know, maybe this is just me being neurotic, but when I am watching a charge that young, and he/she wants to play on tall playground equipment, you can bet i stay super close by so that if the kid feels like he/she is going to fall, i can be there to grab them.

another nanny said...

nycsitter- that's a good point, but maybe you have never taken 3 young kids to a playground? You have to watch a 1.5 year old like a hawk at the park. The younger child usually takes priority because the risk of injury is greater.
I am envious of those whose employers reacted calmly in these situations. 'Cause mine didn't, and I'm still traumatized by it, even though it was over 4 years ago.

Tales from the (Nanny)Hood said...

Hi nycsitter13! Yes, I was actually within arms reach of O.(not easy when watching 3 kids at a big playground, lol!) when she fell.

She and big sis were taking turns swinging on a bar set about 6' off the ground. They got to the bar by climbing up a ladder on the playset. Little bro was climbing up steps and sliding on a short slide that was at right angles to the girls.

O. climbed up, grabbed the bar, and started swinging herself. She swung back toward me, then away, her hands slipped off the bar, and her momentum carried her almost 10 feet away.

She started screaming, I grabbed 6 yo and 1.5 yo, made them hold hands, and our "angel" and I got to O. He and I checked her briefly, saw her arm was broken, and he scooped her up while I put little J in the stroller, and had Big Sis follow us along with the 2.5 yo daughter of our "Angel".

About 4 weeks later, we saw our "Angel" at the park gymnastics center with his wife and kids. By then O. was in a smaller cast, and we were able to thank him properly for all the help he gave us.

This actually happened more than 6 years ago, and I would guess all the details will stay with me forever. O. remembers that she broke her arm, but the details escape her luckily!