Children encounter accidents all the time, but some injuries are worse than others. Broken bones are more common in youngsters than what you might think—in fact, they’re the fourth most common injury in kids under six years old. They often sustain these injuries due to falls, but car accidents cause many of the more serious cases.
Although broken bones are always worrisome, children have thicker and more flexible bones that recover more quickly. As a result, children rarely need surgery for their fractures. They do need medical attention to help their bones recover, however. Doctors will likely be placing molded casts or other devices to provide additional support while the bones heal. Knowing about fractures in children can help you better assess if your child has a broken bone and seek necessary medical attention.
What Should I Look Out For?
Some types of broken bones are easy to see, especially if they pierce the skin. Doctors call this an “open fracture”. If the bones aren’t aligned properly, physicians may also refer to the fracture as “displaced”. If bones are broken but are in their original alignment, they’re “non-displaced”. These types of fractures are harder to see than displaced ones because they aren’t readily apparent. However, broken bones often share similar signs and symptoms.
Fractures are painful, and your child may experience pain whenever they put pressure on the affected area. If they’re experiencing discomfort when walking, lifting things, or moving their limbs, they might be suffering from broken bones. You may also notice swelling, bruises, or discoloration.
Detecting this type of injury can be difficult, especially if your child cannot communicate what they’re feeling. If you suspect that they may be suffering from a fracture, it’s best to contact their urgent care physician.
What Can I Do Before Going to the Doctor?
Before you go to the doctor, you can make an improvised splint out of magazines or thick pieces of cardboard to prevent any further dislocation. Be careful not to give them medications for the pain if you haven’t contacted their doctor yet. For older children, apply an ice pack to the affected area to reduce swelling. Babies and toddlers have more delicate skin, so it’s best not to avoid placing anything too cold on their injury. You might be able to get away with a cool washcloth.
Clean any wounds and apply pressure to stop the bleeding. Do not attempt to move the bones back into place, and be wary of fever. This may indicate that the wound may be infected.
Going to the Doctor
Most fractures are minor and will not be needing surgery, but the doctors will have to examine the extent of the damage using x-rays. Minor cases may only need a splint or a cast, while displaced ones will require realignment. Doctors may use anesthesia before they realign the bones, and in rare cases, they may have to perform surgery.
You may have to go back for additional check-ups so the physicians know that the bones are aligning properly. If your child’s fingers or toes are becoming pale or blue in color or they’re experiencing additional pain and numbness, go back to the doctor and adjust the cast.
Seek Urgent Care for Your Children
Broken bones may be common in kids, but they’re still a cause for concern. Knowing what to look out for, what to do, and what to expect from the doctor is crucial in ensuring your child’s health and safety. If you suspect that your kid may be suffering from a fracture, never hesitate to seek the help of doctors.
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