Rib Fracture In Children
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:
A rib fracture is a crack or break in one or more of your child's ribs. Your child's ribs are the bones that connect from the front of his chest to his spine (backbone). All of the bones of your child's ribs make his rib cage.
You have the right to help plan your child's care. Learn about your child's health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your child's caregivers to decide what care you want for your child.
Greater force is needed to break the bones of children than the bones of adults. This increases the risk of damage to the heart, lungs, diaphragm, liver, spleen, or other organs inside the chest. The jagged edges of a broken rib may cut or tear the lung or a blood vessel. This may cause bleeding inside your child's chest or cause one of his lungs to collapse.
WHILE YOU ARE HERE:
A consent form is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that your child may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your child's medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done to your child. Make sure all of your questions are answered.
Stay with your child for comfort and support as often as possible while he is in the hospital. Ask another family member or someone close to the family to stay with your child when you cannot be there. Bring items from home that will comfort your child, such as a favorite blanket or toy.
Your child may be given medicine to decrease pain. Do not wait until your child's pain is severe before you ask for more medicine.
Simple rib fractures may need no treatment. Your child may need one or more of the following:
- Deep breathing exercise: Ask your child to take a slow, deep breath. Have him hold the breath as long as he can and then exhale (breathe out). Tell your child to do this 10 times in a row every hour while he is awake. This exercise helps keep your child from getting a lung infection. Your child can brace his ribs with his hands or a pillow while he takes the deep breaths to help decrease pain.
- Chest tube: A chest tube is used to remove air, blood, or fluid from around your child's lungs or heart. This lets the lungs fill up with air when your child breathes and helps his heart beat normally. The chest tube is attached to a container to collect the blood or fluid. Call your child's caregiver right away if the chest tube comes apart from the container. Let the caregiver know if the tubing gets bent, twisted or the tape comes loose.
- Surgery: A rib fracture that causes a blood vessel injury may need surgery. Your child may need a chest tube if the broken rib bones damaged his lungs or there is bleeding in his chest.
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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.