What is a fracture?
A fracture is a break in the bone. There different types of fractures that can affect children, some are more serious than others.
Signs of a fracture
It’s not always obvious that your child has broken a bone. There are a few ways bones can break so, if you’re not sure, get medical help as soon as possible. Your child’s bone may be broken if:
- they have inflammation, bleeding, bruising and tenderness around the injured area
- they have intense pain
- they have tingling and numbness
- they can’t move or use the injured area
- babies may be very quiet and stop crying after being shaken.
What to do if you think your child has a broken bone
Visit a doctor urgently if you think your child may have a broken bone.
An x-ray, which takes an image of your child’s bone, is usually the only to way to confirm a bone is broken. Your doctor may examine your little one first and then send them for an x-ray.
If you think your child has broken a bone, you can:
- stop the bleeding (if there is any) by applying pressure with a clean cloth
- immobilise the injured part of the body - for example, if your child’s ankle is broken, put their foot on a pillow to make sure they don’t put weight on the ankle
- make your child as comfortable as possible, without touching or moving the injured area
- call your doctor, Plunketline or an after-hours clinic if you’re not sure what to do.
When to call 111
Call 111 for immediate help if:
- your child is a baby and has been shaken – there may have head trauma or a serious injury
- your child is seriously injured.
Your doctor will give you advice on helping your child’s bone heal. Sometimes, your child will need a cast or a splint, which helps keeps the bone in place. This may be scary for you and your child, so try to support them with lots of cuddles and encouraging words.
You may a need follow up visit with your doctor in a few weeks, so they can check the bone and make sure it’s healing correctly.