Dealing With a Broken Bone
By Charles H Geneslaw, MD
March 20, 2019
The harder your children play, the harder they might fall. During childhood, fractures and broken bones are common for children playing or participating in sports. While falls are a common part of childhood,
your pediatrician in shares important information to help you understand if your child has a broken bone.
If your child breaks a bone, the classic signs might include swelling and deformity. However, if a break isn’t displaced, it may be harder to tell if the bone is broken or fractured. Some telltale signs that a bone is broken are:
- You or your child hears a snap or grinding noise as the injury occurs
- Your child experiences swelling, bruising or tenderness to the injured area
- It is painful for your child to move it, touch it or press on it
- The injured part looks deformed
What Happens Next?
If you suspect that your child has a broken bone, it is important that you seek medical care immediately. All breaks, whether mild or severe, require medical assistance. Keep in mind these quick first aid tips:
- Call 911 - If your child has an 'open break' where the bone has punctured the skin, if they are unresponsive, if there is bleeding or if there have been any injuries to the spine, neck or head, call 911. Remember, better safe than sorry! If you do call 911, do not let the child eat or drink anything, as surgery may be required.
- Stop the Bleeding - Use a sterile bandage or cloth and compression to stop or slow any bleeding.
- Apply Ice - Particularly if the broken bone has remained under the skin, treat the swelling and pain with ice wrapped in a towel. As usual, remember to never place ice directly on the skin.
- Don't Move the Bone - It may be tempting to try to set the bone yourself to put your child out of pain, particularly if the bone has broken through the skin, do not do this! You risk injuring your child further. Leave the bone in the position it is in.
Contact your pediatrician to learn more about broken bones, and how you can better understand the signs and symptoms so your child can receive the care they need right away.