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 possibleYour 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. 



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