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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates

Brenner Children’s pediatric emergency department has moved back to its original location. Learn more

In order to help protect patients, family members and health care workers from the spread of COVID-19, no visitors are allowed at any of Wake Forest Baptist Health’s outpatient or inpatient facilities, except in certain situations.
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First Aid: Broken Bones

First Aid: Broken Bones

First Aid

Broken bones (or fractures) are a common injury in kids, especially after a fall. No matter what part might be broken or how big or small the injury may seem, all broken bones need medical care.

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

If:

  • 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.

Think Prevention!

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