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When Kids Don't Bounce: 3 Things To Do for a Broken Bone

Invincible Kids Series, Part 2

As a parent, you’ve watched your child tumble, fall, trip and face plant for what seems like 1,000 times, but there’s the possibility that 1,001 will be the one resulting in a serious injury. When your child is injured and you suspect a fracture, or a broken bone, here are 3 things you need to do:

  1. Call 911

It is best to not move the child if a bone may be broken, especially if it is in the neck, spine or head. Also, if a bone is exposed through the skin or if the child loses consciousness or stops breathing, you need an ambulance.

“If the potentially broken bone is in an extremity, if it doesn’t seem to be a compound fracture, and if you can easily move the child without causing extreme pain, you can bring him or her to your nearest Advance ER for fast treatment,” said Advance ER physician Dr. Alexander Lee. “Otherwise, it is best to wait for an ambulance.”

Not sure if it is broken? “Go ahead and bring the child into Advance ER and let us examine him. A sprain or tear can be just as painful as a fracture and can also require treatment. We’ll bring the treatment that’s right for him,” said Dr. Lee.

  1. Do what you can

If the child is old enough to follow directions, have him hold the injured area still. You can help by firmly rolling up two towels or two thick newspapers and laying them alongside the injured limb. Have someone stay with the child to make sure he doesn’t move it any more. If it is a compound fracture with bone exposed, use a clean cloth to try to reduce heavy bleeding but don’t press down on the bone. To reduce swelling and pain, apply ice wrapped in a clean cloth.

  1. Treat for shock

If the child begins to shake uncontrollably, feels faint or is breathing in a shallow or rapid manner, he may be experiencing shock. Keep him warm, lay him down and try to get his head slightly lower than his body. If the break is not in a lower limb, you can elevate his feet slightly. Speak calmly to him and reassure him.

“It’s so hard for a parent to see a child with a broken bone and still stay calm, but it is absolutely crucial that you do,” said Dr. Lee. “Kids pick up on our underlying panic, so keep your breathing regular and speak calmly to the child. Resist extra chatter that might make the situation worse for the child, and stay positive. We’re here to help as soon as you can get him or her to Advance ER.”

At Advance ER, we have the imaging equipment and the board-certified physicians available 24/7 for emergencies like this. Our No Wait policy means that your child will be shown right to a private room and will receive care within minutes of your arrival.

If the fracture requires a specialist, our SPECIALIST NOWSM service gives you a face-to-face consultation with a specialist at no additional fee from his or her office. At Advance ER, you get the right care in the right place at the right time.

Check out our two convenient neighborhood locations in Park Cities and Galleria Area to find the Advance ER closest to your home and to your children’s activities.

Meet Dr. Alexander Lee:

Alexander Lee, M.D., is board-certified in Emergency Medicine. He received his medical degree from Tulane University in New Orleans and he completed his residency in Emergency Medicine at LSU/Charity Medical Center. He has been practicing in Dallas for almost a decade and he welcomes patients of all ages. Dr. Lee is fluent in both English and Korean.