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Home >  Information A-ZAll Kids Information Articles > Broken Bones

Broken Bones

One of the many injuries that children will incur is breaking a bone. This can be anything from their arm to their leg to their collar bone, and it can happen in many different ways (often in ways that will surprise the parents, such as a very short fall). Although knowing as much information as possible about broken bones can’t help prevent them, it can at least help you recognize a broken bone as soon as possible and know what to do until you can get your child to the hospital.

• Signs a bone is broken—

There was a snap or pop during impact

It can’t move, or hurts extremely bad to move it

It’s painful or impossible to bear weight on it

Swelling, tenderness and bruising

It looks broken (in severe breaks, it will be obvious that the bone is broken, causing it to look deformed or poke through the skin)

• Treatment—
If you believe a bone is broken, you should take your child to the hospital immediately. On the way, you should keep ice on it, which can keep the swelling down (often a bone can’t be casted if it is too swollen) and keep it elevated (this can help keep swelling and throbbing to a minimum). If it is a leg, foot or ankle that is injured, do not allow your child to put weight on it. If it is an arm, collarbone, hand, etc., you can put a makeshift sling on it to keep from moving it. Even if it is seemingly unrelated, such as the wrist, that is injured, moving the elbow can cause more pain and further injury.

If the injury is to the child’s head or neck, you should not move them at all, and you should call 911 immediately. If your child has broken their bone so severely that it is poking through the skin, you should also not move them, and call 911 immediately.

You can give your child pain medication immediately when it happens, even before leaving to go to the hospital, just be sure to tell the doctor what you gave your child so that they don’t give your child the same thing or another medication that may have an adverse reaction with the one you gave.

Most of the time, a cast will be necessary in healing a broken bone. If it is a complete break, the bone will likely have to be set before it can be casted. It is important to follow all of the doctor’s directions so that it can heal properly. If your child has to have a cast, you can ask the doctor if they offer colored casts and let your child pick the color. This may make having a cast seem more fun, and you can supply your child with cool pens to have their friends sign the cast with. Be sure to supply your child with something for scratching (such as a very long thin backscratcher) that they can slide inside the cast (casts cause tremendous itching and it can be hard to reach them for scratching).

Most casts have to be worn for 6-8 weeks, but after that the child will often regain full painless use of the bone.


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