Child Safety Week – Fractures

As part of Child Safety Week, we are sharing some first aid advice for children so you can always be prepared, just in case.

A fracture is another word for a broken bone and are pretty common in children. The tricky part is how do you know whether you have broken a bone or just have a soft tissue injury? The honest answer is, that unless the bone is sticking out, or the limb is at a very peculiar angle, the only way to know for sure that a bone is broken is to have an X-ray.

Possible signs that your child could have a fracture include any of the following:

  • Pain or tenderness at the site
  • Loss of power (Not moving a limb)
  • Unnatural movement (the limb may be at an peculiar angle or be able to move more than normal)
  • Swelling, bruising or a wound around the site
  • Deformity – lumps, bumps or a limb that is shorter than normal

If you suspect a fracture is possible, you should encourage the child to rest their limb in the most comfortable position, try to support it, for example you could consider resting an injured limb on a pillow or using a sling. You’ll need to go to Accident and Emergency or Minor Injuries Unit for a professional opinion.

You may need to call an ambulance if:

  • They could have injured their spine or head
  • They have any difficulty breathing or begin to lose consciousness
  • It is an open fracture (where the bone pokes through the skin)
  • If they lose feeling in the limb, or if it dramatically changes colour
  • You are unable to safely transport the child to hospital yourself keeping the limb stable and supported
  • They are in too much pain to move them without pain relief
  • You are worried about them in any way.

Remember, always seek professional advice if you are at all worried. To find out more about first aid for children, see our online course in First Aid for Children.

Written by Sophie McCracken 8th June 2017