Happy Baby Toss originally uploaded by Kris
According to this Dakota County Criminal Complaint, a father of a six month old child was arrested for causing serious harm to his child:
The mother reported that approximately one month ago the baby developed six bruises on her head, patterned in 2 rows of 3. The mother reported that she had noticed the bruises along her daughter’s back a few days before the baby’s well-baby check on April 8th. Prior to the well-baby check she had discussed the bruises with the baby’s father, fully identified at Chad Michael Hammer, (DOB 11/7/84), and he explained that he had been tossing the baby in the air and catching her.
Hammer stated regarding the older rib injuries, that he had been throwing JLH in the air and catching her, and had then placed her in a sitting position on the couch. He then became “irritated” with the behavior of his older daughter, and stated that when JLH started to tip from her sitting position on the couch he grabbed her and may have squeezed her too hard because of his irritation. He stated JLH cried harder than normal after he squeezed her. Regarding the most recent injury and bruises to JLH’s back, Hammer stated he had been throwing her in the air, and on the last throw, he almost missed catching her, causing him to grab her and squeeze her tightly to keep her from hitting the floor. He stated she started crying afterward, and he believed that is what caused the recent injury.
Now, as a new father and one who likes to play with his son, I am constantly fearing that I am going to somehow cause physical harm to him and because of that I am pretty darn careful and certainly do not throw my kid into the air being that he’s only two and a half months old. But a while back we had some friends over to visit and the father was throwing his ~1 year old daughter in the air and catching her with her giggling delightfully. Obviously at some point between 5 months of age and one year this activity becomes more acceptable and less harmful.
While I don’t believe this guy’s story at all, I do have to wonder when others started interacting in a more physical manner with their children. So my question to you veteran parents is when did you begin to interact with your children in a way which could seriously harm them? Did you avoid it all together for fear of causing bodily harm? Do you agree that this guy’s story just doesn’t add up or do you believe that playing with your child in the manner described really may injure them at the ages these injuries occurred? Is this just something you get over in time or is it something that even when you’re doing it you’re still freaked out that you could hurt your child at any time?