Family Health Guide

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First Aid: Broken Bones (fractures)

Notify your child's doctor then go immediately to the ER if you suspect a broken bone. (You don't need to call 911 unless it's impossible to move your child without significant pain.) Your doctor can notify the emergency room staff that you're on your way, which can expedite things once you do arrive. Signs of this injury include extreme tenderness, inability to move the limb, and a deformed appearance. Immobilize the joint or limb right away in a splint or sling to keep it from moving. To ease pain, ice the area (20 minutes on, 20 minutes off) and give your child the age-appropriate dose of acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Do not give your child anything else to eat or drink until after he has been seen by a doctor. If the bone has to be moved or set before it's put into a cast, your child will need pain medication that it best given on an empty stomach.