How to Know if Your Child Has a Broken Bone

How to Know if Your Child Has a Broken Bone

It can be difficult to know if your child has a broken bone (also called a “fracture”), if they need emergency care or if they simply need at-home care. To complicate matters further, children need special care when they do break a bone because their bones are still growing and have a different consistency and quality than adult bones.

Children can break bones in a number of ways due to their constant activity and curiosity. They can fall, crush a finger in a door, touch dangerous machinery that they shouldn’t, get hit by a ball, etc.

Here are some important things to note if your child has an injury:

  • Bring your child to the emergency room if the finger, wrist, or arm is not in normal alignment or if there is a skin wound leading to the fracture.
  • Ice the injury if the injured body part looks normal and is movable, but keep an eye on your child’s symptoms.
  • If there is significant bruising or swelling, bring your child to see a hand surgeon as soon as possible. The finger, wrist or arm may be broken, but an x-ray is the only way to tell.

It’s important to remember that not all broken bones will look crooked, and your child may still be able to move the body part if it’s broken. This means you should keep a close eye on your child’s symptoms, and visit a hand surgeon to be safe.

If your child has a fracture, it can either be 1) non-displaced or 2) displaced. A non-displaced fractures means that the bone is still in one piece, compared to a displaced fracture when the bone is broken into two or more pieces and has shifted. Commonly, your child will be treated with a splint or a cast. In certain cases, your child may need surgery.

Lucky for children, they heal quickly. Most will heal from an upper extremity fracture in about a month. Treatment, however, will depend on the severity of the fractures and whether the bones are misaligned. Learn more about fractures in children at You can also find a hand surgeon near you.

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