Kids are full of energy, bouncing around and sometimes bouncing off things. Of course this means that injuries can happen at any time.
For parents, broken bones can definitely be the most worrying ailment, especially since you can’t immediately tell the different between a sprain and a fracture – we don’t have x-ray eyes!
Listen to Sarah on Kinderling Conversation:
What to do if it’s visibly broken
Sometimes it’s fairly obvious that a bone is broken, with a ‘banana’ arm or foot pointing in wrong direction. These are situations where a child is not getting up and not moving.
“If the foot or leg is bent in a way that it probably shouldn’t be, what we’re going to do first up is make them comfortable where they are, don’t move them and call an ambulance,” Sarah says.
“Because if the bones are severely broken, then sometimes there can be compromise to the limb. So what can happen is it might have injured some of the blood vessels and nerves as well. We don’t want to be moving those bones around, and it’s a medical emergency.”
What to do if you’re unsure
This can be tricky with kids, particularly toddlers.Sometimes just looking at your child’s behaviour is not enough to know, says Sarah.
“Observe them, distract them. What can you do to take their attention elsewhere? And then see what they’re doing,” she suggests.
If you offer them an ice cream or another activity and they jump up and walk, you know everything’s okay. But if they can’t move, then it’s probably a bit more serious.
If they can’t walk on it, they need to see a doctor.
“Young children are more likely to break a bone instead of sprain or strain, just because of their anatomy and the way that they grow, says Sarah.
What to do to keep them comfortable
Start with addressing the pain. “Give your child some pain relief. Give them some oral analgesia, such as paracetamol, ibuprofen, whatever you normally would give your child,” Sarah says.
“We need to immobilise the limb, because if the bones are broken, bones moving on bones hurt. We want to avoid that, so we’re going to immobilise it. We’re going to make sure that we’re using a splint or a pillow, something that their limb isn’t moving around a lot.”
The next thing to consider is, can you transport them to the doctor’s or the local emergency department? Are you able to click them into their car seat? If you can’t, it’s necessary to call for medical attention because you don’t want to transport them unsafely in the car.
What are the visible signs to look for?
All kids are different and all breaks are different too, but Sarah lists some of the key signs of a broken bone.
- The child is not able to be distracted, still not using their limb or complaining of pain.
- They’re still protecting the hurt body part and not using it
- You may see some swelling, but this is tricky to identify on little ones who have chubby arms.
- When the child yells at you when you go to move their arm or limb
Worth the sleep deprivation! Why our 'tired years' might also be our best
Every parent of young children has to endure "the tired years" - and it's a helpful phrase to come to terms with.
This is what it's like to raise a daughter with Down syndrome
One dad shares what he wants all other parents to know.
One mum's terrifying reminder to be VERY careful with "nut-free" kids
You can never be too cautious!
9 books that help little kids act kindly in a big, diverse world
In light of recent sad events in the world, it's all the more important that we teach our children well - through stories!
All the things that become WAY harder with two kids
Thought one kid was making things hard? Just you wait...
What if I can't love a second child as much as the first?
This mother's letter to her firstborn will hit every parent right in the feels - especially if you're expecting a second child.
7 irritating habits that are actually vital for toddler development
Next time they're driving you nuts, read this and feel (a teeny bit) better.
Want happy kids? All it takes is 10 important minutes a day
Your child's happiness doesn't depend on how much you can give them - even when it comes to time. Just 10 minutes a day is all it takes to raise…