Babysitting: Dealing With Broken Bones

Broken bones (or fractures) are a common injury in kids, especially after a fall. No matter where the break is or how small it may seem, all broken bones need to be checked out by a doctor.

Possible signs and symptoms of a broken bone are:

  • a "snapping" or a grinding noise during an injury
  • swelling, bruising, and tenderness of the injured area
  • the injured part is difficult to move or hurts when moving, being touched, or bearing weight

What to Do

If the child has a minor broken bone:

  • Contact the child's parents immediately and ask what they recommend.
  • Apply an ice pack wrapped in cloth.
  • Don't allow the child to eat in case surgery is required.

If the child has a serious broken bone:

  • Do not move the child. Call 911 immediately, and then the child's parents.
  • Keep the injured body part in the position you found it — movement can make it worse.
  • Apply an ice pack wrapped in cloth.
  • Do not allow the child to eat in case surgery is required.

To help prevent broken bones:

  • Make sure all safety gates are working.
  • Require kids to wear a helmet and other safety gear when using a bicycle, tricycle, skateboard, scooter, or skates.
  • Avoid using infant walkers or placing infants on counters.

Reviewed by: Kate M. Cronan, MD
Date reviewed: October 2010

Kids Health

Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.

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