July 14, 2011

"What's the best way to catch a falling child?"

Such as the toddler in China who fell 10 stories and survived, caught by a 31-year-old woman.
Physicists say the key to minimising injury to both child and catcher is to try and spread the energy of the impact over as much time as possible, perhaps by falling away while making the catch....

"If you fell as you caught the baby that might help as you are reducing the impact of the catch. You want to be able to fall safely, so grass and soil will give a little bit more than say concrete.

"The arms are going to take some of the force, so it would help if they were relaxed and loose."

33 comments:

ironrailsironweights said...

If you do safely catch a falling child, please don't get excited and pretend you're a wide receiver who just made a Super Bowl-winning touchdown catch ... and spike the "ball."

edutcher said...

I'd be willing to guess a blanket or some sort of cloth would help.

As to the tot, absolutely incredible.

PS And OT: Like what you've done with the masthead. You introduce yourself in a friendly manner and tell people how to join in.

Like the use of the word "contribute" in a context aimed at community as well as cost defrayal (defrayment?).

Dare we presume this will travel to the new site?

Ann Althouse said...

"Dare we presume this will travel to the new site?"

That's something I came up with in preparation for the move. Whether that move is ever going to be possible is a question I am dealing with.

traditionalguy said...

See child, move under child, and hold out the arms as best you can to break the fall onto your chest. There is no wrong way.

A good hearted person wills to do whatever is needed because they want to. Avoid selfish people. What good are they?

etbass said...

"That's something I came up with in preparation for the move. Whether that move is ever going to be possible is a question I am dealing with."

What?

I'm a Shaaaaark said...

You want to be able to fall safely, so grass and soil will give a little bit more than say concrete.

"Yeah, I'd have totally caught that falling baby, but see this?" *stamps foot* "Concrete. Very unsafe for catching falling babies. Couldn't risk it."

Fred4Pres said...

Wow. Good catch.

rcocean said...

Bill Buckner had some advice on this, but I didn't listen.

BTW, do babies swim or do they naturally float on their backs, like Seal pups?

Jeff with one 'f' said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jeff with one 'f' said...

In China this information is only meant to be used if the falling child is a boy. If it's a girl it's less trouble to let it hit the ground. (Unless the rescuer knows an adoption agency with contacts on the Upper West Side and Park Slope, in which case a girl-rescue can be very profitable!)

bagoh20 said...

"What's the best to catch a falling child? "

Scouting

John Lynch said...

Like anyone has time to think about this.

If it happens, do the right thing. How you do it is less important than doing it.

Peter said...

So, there's a wrong way? Who knew? I always figured I'd do the best I could if the situation came up. If the child lived, great. If I survived, even better. The main thing is the trying. It ain't like we get a hell of a lot of practice at catching children falling from on high. Heck, 22 years as a deputy sheriff and the closest I ever got to it was a stoned teenager about thirty feet up in a tree. Damned if I was gonna try to catch him if he fell.

exhelodrvr1 said...

I thought it took a village.

rhhardin said...

This is a physics word problem for women.

We've got to get them interested in science.

Roger Sweeny said...

It's the impulse-momentum theorem. You have to bring the speed--and hence the momentum--down to zero. The longer time you take in doing it, the more gentle the deceleration.

Cement = quick deceleration, deadly force

Catch with "give" = slower deceleration, survivable force

The Drill SGT said...

Roger Sweeny said...
It's the impulse-momentum theorem. You have to bring the speed--and hence the momentum--down to zero. The longer time you take in doing it, the more gentle the deceleration.


You also want to yell to the child on the way down and tell him to spread his arms and legs, to create more wind resistance and to spread the force of his impact across more parts of his tiny body :)

PS: @ironrailsironweights said... won the thread on post 1

Carol_Herman said...

I remember a story about a teacher in high school, who wanted to teach his students about force. So, first, he'd take them on a roller-coaster ride. After the kids saw themselves thrown forward when the machine stopped ... talking about motion was easier.

The episodes where the kid gets caught, and is safe, is rare. But last year there was one ... I think in Paris, France. Where the kid bounced onto an awning (that was open.) Went up a bit ... and a passerby then grabbed the toddler, easily.

Scary stuff. All in a day's life of parents just the same. Because we don't really have eyes in the backs of our heads.

Sixty Grit said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
TWM said...

A NFL player is walking down the street one day and sees a woman leaning out of a burning window on the sixth floor. She is holding a baby and screaming, "Save my baby, please save my baby."

The player yells up at her, "Lady, throw the baby down to me I will catch it."

The woman says "No, my baby will hit the ground."

The player says, "Lady, I am an NFL wide receiver, I will catch your baby."

She says no still again.

He says, "Lady, I have three Super Bowl rings, trust me I will catch your baby."

She just can't do it though, shaking her head, afraid he will drop her precious baby.

He says, "Lady, I've been the MVP more times than any wide receiver in NFL history. I PROMISE I won't drop your baby!!"

With the fire coming the woman has no choice and says, "Here he is, please don't drop her" as she drops the baby to the waiting player.

The player moves to the left, then to the right, and finally right under the falling baby catching it perfectly in his arms.

And then he does a victory dance and spikes the kid on the sidewalk.

TWM said...

Oops, I missed someone referencing that joke up above. Oh well, I like telling it anyway.

Curious George said...

"TWM said...
Oops, I missed someone referencing that joke up above. Oh well, I like telling it anyway."

Yeah, it's funny the 148th time!

TWM said...

"Yeah, it's funny the 148th time!"

Yeah, but by 149, it loses something.

alan markus said...

A little off topic, but what's the deal with children getting killed in Madison? Just saw that a mother was arrested for killing her3-year old son. July 6th, two boys were murdered and left in a car - I think the suspect was friend of the mother. In late 2009, a man killed two women & two children.

Wonder how the children's murder rate in Madison compares to other cities.

Sixty Grit said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Leland said...

Seems easier to find ways to prevent toddlers from failing from 10 stories up.

Original Mike said...

"Physicists say the key to minimising injury to both child and catcher is to try and spread the energy of the impact over as much time as possible, perhaps by falling away while making the catch...."

Well, duh. Even Freder knows that.

Original Mike said...

"Whether that move is ever going to be possible is a question I am dealing with."

Hotel Blogger: "You can check out anytime you like, but you can never leave."

E.M. Davis said...

Thank God the lady wasn't Terrell Owens.

Good chance he would've dropped the kid.

E.M. Davis said...

"Whether that move is ever going to be possible is a question I am dealing with."

Am I missing something? The archives still exist here. Just start blogging over there and link to the archives here in the meantime.

Jose_K said...

If anyone cried touch and run! dont try to do the assist

Jack said...

You don't need to spread the energy over a long time period...you have to apply the force of a longer period of time. To stop the child from continuing to fall, the catcher must apply an impulse of magnitude equal to the momentum of the child. That takes either more force or more time; the less time, the more force required.

The Chinese have lots of STEMs, they'd understand.

Reaganite Republican said...

Makes plenty of sense, you'd also want to spread the mass over as much area as possible (perhaps open fingers like palming a b-ball?) while falling to spread the force over time- same reason parachutists roll when they hit the ground, but that would be tricky while holding the infant I suppose~