Dedicated to Helping Parents

Talking to your child or teenager about their condition isn’t easy. With practical advice and support, we can help. Our qualified experts can answer your questions and help manage your concerns.

Parents with child playing

How to provide first aid treatment for a bone fracture?

Share this article

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on reddit
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest
Share on whatsapp
Print this article

In case of bone fracture, you should:

  • Call immediately for medical care.
  • Keep your child still and calm.
  • Do not move your child in case of head, neck, back, pelvis or hip injury.
  • Support the injured limb with a pillow or sling.
  • Check your child’s airway or breathing.
  • If skin is broken, it should be treated to prevent infections. If possible, rinse the wound gently to remove visible dirt and cover with sterile dressing.
  • If needed, immobilize the broken bone with a splint: these may include a rolled-up newspaper, cardboards or strips of wood. Immobilize the area both above and below the injured bone.
  • Apply ice packs wrapped in cloth to reduce pain and swelling.
  • Prevent your child’s shock. Lay her/him down, if possible, with elevated limb about 12 inches-30 centimeters higher than the heart.
  • Do not move your child in case of head, neck, back, pelvis or hip injury.
  • Treat bleeding by placing a dry clean cloth over the wound to dress it.
  • Pain relief may be needed and medication may help to reduce pain. Follow dosage instructions given by your doctor.

In case of bone fracture, you shouldn’t:

  • move your child unless the broken bone is stable;
  • move a child with a suspected injured spine, head, neck;
  • move a child with injured hips, pelvis or upper leg, unless absolutely necessary;
  • attempt to straighten a bone;
  • apply heat in any form, since it increases swelling and pain;
  • allow your child to eat anything, in case surgery is needed.

Which are the exams for a correct diagnosis?

X-rays are generally used to diagnose the type of bone fracture and whether or not the bones are in line (if there is a displacement or not). Although X-rays reveal most fractures, including subtle fractures in skeletally immature children, in some cases (e.g. occult physeall fracture) the fracture detection may be improved by using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computed tomography (CT or CAT scan).

Does physiotherapy help my child’s bone fracture healing?

Physiotherapy exercises are very important for your child’s limb healing. Physiotherapy makes sure that his/her bones are surrounded and supported by healthy, strong muscles, and his/her joints continue functioning well to prevent permanent joint stiffness. Exercises must be constantly practiced under the supervision of a qualified physiotherapist.

Useful resources to help bone health

The two most important lifelong bone health habits are proper nutrition – a varied and balanced diet with the right amount of essential elements plus calcium and vitamin D – and physical activity. One of the best ways to encourage healthy habits in your children is to be a good role model yourself. Children watch us, and our habits have a strong influence on theirs.