First Aid: Broken Bones
Signs & Symptoms of a Broken Bone
Your child may have a broken bone if:
- you heard a "snap" or a grinding noise during an injury
- there's swelling, bruising, or tenderness
- the injured part is difficult to move or hurts when moving, being touched, or bearing weight
What to Do
- Take clothing off the injured area.
- Apply an ice pack wrapped in cloth.
- Keep the injured limb in the position you find it.
- Put a simple splint on the broken area if you have one. A splint holds the bone still. This protects it until the child is seen by the doctor. To make a splint, you can use a small board, cardboard, or folded up newspapers. Wrap it with an elastic bandage or tape.
- Get medical care.
- Don't let your child eat or drink in case they need surgery.
Do Not Move Your Child and Call 911 Right Away If:
- You suspect a serious injury to the head, neck, or back.
- A broken bone comes through the skin. While waiting for help:
- Keep your child lying down.
- Do not wash the wound or push in any part that's sticking out.
Not every fracture can be prevented. But you can make a break less likely. Follow these tips:
- Use safety gates at bedroom doors and at both the top and bottom of stairs (for babies or toddlers).
- Follow helmet and safety gear rules for young athletes and any child riding a bicycle, tricycle, skateboard, scooter, or any type of skates and roller blades.
- Do not use infant walkers.
American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS)
The AAOS provides information for the public on sports safety, and bone, joint, muscle, ligament and tendon injuries or conditions.
American Red Cross
The American Red Cross helps prepare communities for emergencies and works to keep people safe every day. The website has information on first aid, safety, and more.
Best Bones Forever
A bone health campaign for girls ages 9 to 12 that teaches how to get and keep strong, healthy bones for life. "Grow strong together and stay strong forever!"
National Safety Council
The National Safety Council offers information on first aid, CPR, environmental health, and safety.