Diseases & Conditions
A broken or fractured bone requires emergency care. However, it is not always clear if a child has broken a bone or just sprained a ligament. A broken bone should be suspected if the child heard or felt a bone snap, has trouble moving the injured part, or if the injured part moves in an unnatural way or is very painful to the touch.
If the injury involves a child’s neck or back, he should not be moved unless he is in imminent danger, because movement can cause serious nerve damage. If the child must be moved, the neck and back must be completely immobilized ﬁrst. To keep the child’s head, neck, and back in alignment, the child must be moved as a unit.
If the child has a compound fracture (an open break in which the bone protrudes through the skin) and there is severe bleeding, pressure should be applied to the bleeding area with a gauze pad. However, the wound should not be washed, nor should anyone try to push back the part of the bone that may be sticking out.
If a child must be moved, splints should be applied around the injured limb to prevent further injury. The limb should be left in the original position. The splints should be applied in that position. Splints can be made by using boards, brooms, a stack of newspapers, cardboard, or anything firm, and can be padded with pillows, shirts, towels, or anything soft. Splints must be long enough to extend beyond the joints above and below the fracture. Cold packs or a bag of ice wrapped in cloth should be placed on the injured area. Keep the child lying down until medical help arrives.