Nosebleed: "I had to lean her forward, not back."


Last updated 15 June 2023

When it comes to nosebleeds, a lot of people aren't sure what to do. Luckily, Claire did and was able to help her daughter.

Dealing with a nosebleed might seem simple – but many people aren’t quite sure of the correct action to help.

Learning what to do if a little one has a nosebleed will help you deal with the situation quickly and calmly. 

Here, Claire shares the story of how she helped her daughter when her nose was bleeding.

"Out of nowhere, her nose started pouring with blood."

On a very hot and sunny day, Claire took her daughter Bella, aged almost three and a half, to the park. On the walk home, Bella fell asleep in the buggy.

“We were in the middle of potty training and when we got home I realised that Bella had had an accident, so I went to change her,” Claire said.

“As I was laying her down, out of nowhere her nose started pouring with blood. It looked like a lot of blood: it was all over her face and down her neck.”

"I pinched the soft bit at the bottom of her nose."

Having already learned first aid, Claire knew what to do.

“I sat her up, leaned her forward and pinched the soft bit at the bottom of her nose.

“I was hugging her at the same time because she didn’t like what I was doing.

“While this was happening I called to my mum, who was upstairs, to come and help me.

“Bella was getting upset because of all the blood. And even though I knew what was happening, it’s easy to panic a bit when you see a lot of blood on your child, so I shouted up to get a bit of help.

“My mum told me I should be tilting Bella’s head back as far as I could, rather than forward.

“I knew this wasn’t right, as leaning her forward would stop the blood from going into her airway or stomach.”

Help from our baby and child first aid app

“We had a little debate about it!” Claire said.

“I opened the British Red Cross Baby and Child First Aid app on my phone, just to double-check I had done the right thing, and I showed my mum.

“She said: ‘Oh, go on then.’ Neither of us likes to be wrong!”

Luckily, Bella’s nosebleed stopped after a few minutes.

“I think she had just got too hot on the long walk home – it was about 24 degrees that day,” Claire said.

“We cleaned Bella up, put on her favourite film and gave her some chocolate and she was all right after that!”

Claire was glad she had remembered the key ways to help a child with a nosebleed: to pinch the soft part of their nose and ask them to lean forward.

“I knew I’d done the right thing because I’ve learned first aid and some things just stick,” she said. “But I’m glad I had the app just to double-check, which was really, really helpful.”

Did you know what to do?

If you were unsure of the right way to help with a nosebleed, you’re not alone. We took to the streets recently to find out if people knew what to do. Watch the video to find out what happened.

Duration of video: 1 min

How to help with a nosebleed

Remember, if someone has a nosebleed you should:

1. Pinch the soft part of their nose and ask them to lean forward.

Pinching the nose helps the blood to clot. Leaning forward stops blood going into the airway or stomach.

Ask them to breathe through their mouth and to spit out any blood.

2. If it's still bleeding continue to pinch their nose for further periods of 10 minutes.

3. Seek medical advice if the bleeding continues for more than half an hour.

Find out more about first aid for babies and children