Broken bones (or fractures) are a common injury in kids. They often happen after a fall. All broken bones need medical care, no matter how small it seems.

    Signs & Symptoms of a Broken Bone

    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

    • Take clothing off the injured area.
    • Apply an ice pack wrapped in cloth.
    • Keep the injured limb in the position you find it.
    • Put a simple splint on the broken area if you have one. A splint holds the bone still. This protects it until the child is seen by the doctor. To make a splint, you can use a small board, cardboard, or folded up newspapers. Wrap it with an elastic bandage or tape.
    • Get medical care.
    • Don't let your child eat or drink in case they need surgery.

    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.

    Girl being examined for a broken bone.


    Think Prevention!

    Not every fracture can be prevented. But you can make a break less likely. Follow these tips:

    • Use safety gates at bedroom doors and at both the top and bottom of stairs (for babies or toddlers).
    • Follow 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.
    • Do not use infant walkers.
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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