Children break things. All sorts of things. All too often it is their own bones that are the victims of their excessive energy and erratic movements. The result is a variety of injuries from minimal greenstick fractures to ones that are more serious and painful. Among the most frequent bones to suffer damage are those in the wrist, ankles, arms, and legs. The collarbone is also a frequent member of this list. Running, jumping, tripping and falling are the reasons for these parts of the body to be most easily hurt.

More severe fractures involving the head, trunk and pelvis are more commonly seen when major trauma occurs such as that from an automobile accident.

Symptoms:

  • Pain. When a bone is broken, nerves are damaged and pain, sometimes quite severe, depending on the location and severity of the break, will definitely be present.
  • Swelling. Blood vessels are also damaged when a bone is broken and rapid swelling occurs.
  • Distortion of shape or position. It is often possible to detect a broken bone if the usual position of the affected part, such as a wrist or forearm, is altered.
  • Refusal to move or use the part affected.

Treatment:

  • Immobilize. Keep the injured part from moving by using some form of splint. Folded newspaper, pieces of stiff cardboard, straight pieces of winds or small tree limbs – anything that will work that keeps the limb, hand or foot from moving.
  • Cold compresses. Ice pack (if available) or anything cold, such as cold creek water, will help to reduce swelling and alleviate pain.
  • Do not allow the child to use or bear weight on the injured part. To do so might worsen the injury.
  • Seek medical attention.

Call the Doctor When:

  • If a break or bad sprain is suspected, always obtain medical help.

Prevention:

  • See to it that areas where children play are free of obstacles, holes or unsafe walls.
  • Accompany small children when they are in playgrounds with other children.
  • Teach children the proper use of playground equipment.
  • Teach children not to shove or push.
  • Be certain children have the proper safety equipment when playing any kind of sport.

It is not always possible to prevent injuries to a child’s bones. However, paying attention to where and how they play, using proper barriers for stairs, teaching them to avoid potential hazardous areas and using proper safety attire for sports, are all good habits to develop and use.

The good news is that most bones heal. Still, if at all possible, keep them in one piece in the first place!