Children break things. All too often, their own bones are the victims. The results vary from minimal greenstick fractures to more serious and painful injuries. Bones in the wrist, ankles, arms, and legs suffer damage most frequently. The collarbone is also a member of this list. Running, jumping, tripping and falling are the most likely culprits. More severe fractures involving the head, trunk, and pelvis are more commonly due to major trauma such as an automobile accident.


  • When a bone is broken, nerve damage causes pain. The level will depend on the location and severity of the break.
  • Breaking a bone also damages blood vessels, triggering rapid swelling.
  • Distortion of shape or position may occur. Broken bones are often identified when the usual position of the affected part, such as a wrist or forearm, is altered.
  • Refusal to move or use the part affected.


  • Keep the injured part from moving with some form of splint. Use folded newspaper, pieces of stiff cardboard, straight pieces of wood, or small tree limbs – anything that prevents the injured area from moving.
  • Cold compresses, such as an ice pack (if available) or something like cold creek water, help to reduce swelling and alleviate pain.
  • Do not allow the child to use or bear weight on the injured part. Doing so might worsen the injury.
  • Seek medical attention.


  • 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 sports.

It is not always possible to prevent injuries to a child’s bones. The good news is that most heal!