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Health Team

Mask: Look for these signs of fractured bones when kids fall

Posted January 17

Children usually bounce back quickly from falls, but sometimes they complain that something hurts.

Those complaints can be the indicator that it's something more serious, like a broken bone. Enduring pain is one of the signs parents should look for before seeking medical help.

Bone fractures can happen on trampoline parks, at ball fields, on a playground or even in your own back yard. In some cases, the fracture is obvious: With an open fracture, pieces of the bone may pierce the skin, or the forearm may no longer be straight because the bone is now separated or "displaced."

It's not as easy to recognize a fracture if the bones are still aligned or "non-displaced."

Is there pain? Look for pain when your child tries to walk or lift something. Bruising can also be a symptom of a fracture, and sometimes the bruise can be so tender that your child doesn't want you to touch it.

Swelling might occur, and there may be bumps or other changes in the way the limb looks.

Did you or your child hear a snapping noise when they were injured?

If the limb is numb, that could be a sign of nerve damage near a fracture, and a change in color of the skin could mean the same thing.

Your child may not be able to straighten their elbow or knee, which is another sign of a possible fracture.

Sometimes, the child cannot move their limb like normal.

These are things you can check for right away after your child complains of pain.

If it could be a non-displaced fracture, see a doctor as soon as possible or call them for advice. If you know that the bone is displaced, or if the injury involves your child's head, neck or back, call 911 right away.

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