Learn first aid for a baby or child who may have a broken bone
A baby or child may have a broken bone if they are in a lot of pain, or are lying in an unnatural position, following a fall or a blow from an object.
1. Support the injury with cushions or items of clothing to prevent unnecessary movement.
Supporting the injury may help relieve pain and prevent further damage. Support the limb above and below the injury if possible.
2. Call 999 as soon as possible.
If you can’t call 999, get someone else to do it.
3. Continue supporting the injury until help arrives.
Watch how to help a baby or child who may have a broken bone (1 minute 2 seconds)
Common questions about first aid for a baby or child who may have a broken bone
How can I tell if a baby or child has a broken bone?
They may be in pain, have bruising and swelling, or be lying in an unnatural position. In severe cases, the limb may be misshapen or have an open wound.
Babies’ and children’s bones are supple and may bend or split. It can often be difficult to tell if a baby or child has a broken bone without having an X-ray, so seek medical advice if you are not sure.
How do I support a broken bone?
Do not move it unnecessarily. Place soft padding such as clothing or blankets around the limb to align it, if you can, but do not force it.
Continue to support the broken bone until help arrives. If they are able to, a child could support the injury themselves by holding it.
If a bone looks unnatural or dislocated, should I put it back in place?
No. If there is a dislocation or the limb looks broken, medical professionals will take care of it. Never attempt to put dislocations back in place as you may cause further damage.
What do I do if they won’t let me support the injury?
Try to encourage them to support the injury themselves by holding it. Cushions or clothing can also be used to support the injury.
What if everything looks normal and they only have a bruise?
It is usually impossible to differentiate between a broken bone and a sprain or strain without an X-ray. If you are in any doubt about the severity of the injury, seek medical advice.
They can move their limb or stand on it. Does this mean they probably haven't got a broken bone?
Not necessarily. The only accurate way to diagnose a broken bone is to X-ray it. The baby or child may still have a broken bone, even if they can move their limb. If the injury causes pain or discomfort and symptoms do not improve, seek medical advice.
Email us if you have any other questions about first aid for a baby or child who may have a broken bone.