Rib Fracture In Children


Rib Fracture In Children (Discharge Care) Care Guide

A rib fracture is a crack or break in one or more of your child's ribs.



Your child may need any of the following:

  • NSAIDs decrease swelling and pain. This medicine is available without a doctor's order. Ask your child's primary healthcare provider (PHP) which medicine is right for your child. Ask how much to give your child and when he should take it. Give the medicine as directed. NSAIDs can cause stomach bleeding and kidney problems if not taken correctly. If your child takes blood thinner medicine, always ask if it is safe for him to take NSAIDs.

  • Prescription pain medicine may be given. Ask your child's PHP how to give this medicine safely.

  • Give your child's medicine as directed. Contact your child's PHP if you think the medicine is not working as expected. Tell him if your child is allergic to any medicine. Keep a current list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs your child takes. Include the amounts, and when, how, and why they are taken. Bring the list or the medicines in their containers to follow-up visits. Carry your child's medicine list with you in case of an emergency. Throw away old medicine lists.

  • Do not give aspirin to children under 18 years of age. Your child could develop Reye syndrome if he takes aspirin. Reye syndrome can cause life-threatening brain and liver damage. Check your child's medicine labels for aspirin, salicylates, or oil of wintergreen.

Follow up with your child's PHP as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Deep breathing and coughing:

This exercise will decrease your child's risk for a lung infection. Ask your child to take a deep breath and hold it for as long as he can. He should let the air out and then cough strongly. Deep breaths help open his airway. He may be given an incentive spirometer to help him take deep breaths. Put the plastic piece in your child's mouth and have him take a slow, deep breath. He should then let the air out and cough. Have him repeat these steps 10 times every hour.


Your child should rest as much as possible and get plenty of sleep.


Apply ice on the fractured area for 15 to 20 minutes every hour or as directed. Use an ice pack, or put crushed ice in a plastic bag. Cover it with a towel. Ice helps prevent tissue damage and decreases swelling and pain.

Contact your child's PHP if:

  • Your child has a fever.

  • You have questions or concerns about your child's condition or care.

Seek care immediately or call 911 if:

  • Your child coughs a lot or coughs up thick or bloody sputum (spit).

  • Your child has abdominal pain.

  • Your child has trouble breathing.

  • Your child's pain gets worse, even after treatment.

© 2013 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Learn more about Rib Fracture In Children (Discharge Care)