Signs and Symptoms
Your child may have a broken bone if:
- you heard a "snap" or a grinding noise during an injury
- there's swelling, bruising, or tenderness
- the injured part is difficult to move or hurts when moving, being touched, or bearing weight
What to Do
- Remove clothing from the injured area.
- Apply an ice pack wrapped in cloth.
- Keep the injured limb in the position you find it.
- Place a simple splint, if you have one, on the broken area. A splint holds the bone still and protects it until the child is seen by the doctor. To make a temporary splint, you can use a small board, cardboard, or folded up newspapers and wrap it with an elastic bandage or tape.
- Get medical care and don't allow your child to eat or drink in case surgery is required.
Do Not Move Your Child and Call 911 Right Away
- You suspect a serious injury to the head, neck, or back.
- A broken bone comes through the skin. While waiting for help:
- Keep your child lying down.
- Do not wash the wound or push in any part that's sticking out.
It's practically impossible to prevent every fracture, but you can make a break less likely by:
- using safety gates at bedroom doors and at both the top and bottom of stairs (for babies or toddlers)
- enforcing helmet and safety gear rules for young athletes and any child riding a bicycle, tricycle, skateboard, scooter, or any type of skates and roller blades
- not using infant walkers
Reviewed by: Steven Dowshen, MD
Date reviewed: April 2014
|National Safety Council The National Safety Council offers information on first aid, CPR, environmental health, and safety.|
|American Red Cross The American Red Cross helps prepare communities for emergencies and works to keep people safe every day. The website has information on first aid, safety, and more.|
|American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) The AAOS provides information for the public on sports safety, and bone, joint, muscle, ligament and tendon injuries or conditions.|
|Powerful Girls Have Powerful Bones - The National Bone Health Campaign This site, designed for girls ages 9 to 12, teaches how to get and keep strong, healthy bones for life.|
|First Aid: Falls Although most result in mild bumps and bruises, some falls can cause serious injuries that need medical attention.|
|Broken Bones Although many kids will have one at some point, a broken bone can be scary for them and parents alike. To help make things a little easier if a spill results in a fracture, here's the lowdown on what to expect.|
|Household Safety: Preventing Injuries From Falling, Climbing, and Grabbing The potential for a dangerous fall or a tumble into a sharp edge can happen in nearly every area of your home. Read about how to help protect kids from getting hurt.|
|Broken Bones, Sprains, and Strains Broken bones and torn muscles, ligaments, and tendons happen. Find out what to do if your child experiences any breaks, strains, or sprains.|
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
© 1995-2014 KidsHealth® All rights reserved.
Images provided by iStock, Getty Images, Corbis, Veer, Science Photo Library, Science Source Images, Shutterstock, and Clipart.com