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Arm Fracture in Children
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
An arm fracture is a break in one or more of the bones in your child's arm. An arm fracture may be caused by a fall onto an outstretched hand. It may also be caused by trauma from a car accident or a sports injury.
Seek care immediately if:
- Your child's pain gets worse, even after he rests and takes medicine.
- Your child's arm, hand, or fingers feel numb.
- Your child's skin is swollen, cold, or pale.
- Your child's arm is swollen, red, and feels warm.
- Your child feels burning or stinging on his arm.
- Your child cannot move his arm, hand, or fingers.
Contact your child's healthcare provider if:
- Your child has a fever.
- Your child's brace or splint becomes wet, damaged, or comes off.
- You have questions or concerns about your child's condition or care.
- NSAIDs , such as ibuprofen, help decrease swelling and pain. NSAIDs can cause stomach bleeding or kidney problems in certain people. If your child takes blood thinner medicine, always ask if NSAIDs are safe for him. Always read the medicine label and follow directions. Do not give these medicines to children under 6 months of age without direction from your child's healthcare provider.
- Acetaminophen decreases pain. It is available without a doctor's order. Ask how much your child should take and how often he should take it. Follow directions. Acetaminophen can cause liver damage if not taken correctly.
- Prescription pain medicine may be given. Ask your child's healthcare provider how to give this medicine safely.
- 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.
- Give your child's medicine as directed. Contact your child's healthcare provider if you think the medicine is not working as expected. Tell him or her 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.
Follow up with your child's healthcare provider within 1 week:
Your child may need to see a bone specialist within 3 to 4 days if he needs surgery or more treatment. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your child's visits.
Apply ice on your child's arm 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.
Elevate your child's arm above the level of his heart as often as you can. This will help decrease swelling and pain. Prop his arm on pillows or blankets to keep it elevated comfortably.
Have your child rest:
Your child should rest his arm as much as possible. Do not let your child put pressure on his arm or use his arm to lift anything. Ask his healthcare provider when he can return to sports and other activities.
Care for your child's cast or splint:
Follow instructions about when your child may take a bath or shower. It is important not to get the cast or splint wet. Cover the device with 2 plastic bags before you let your child bathe. Tape the bags to your child's skin above the device to help keep out water. Have your child keep his arm out of the water in case the bag breaks.
- Check the skin around your child's cast or splint daily for any redness or open skin.
- Do not let your child use a sharp or pointed object to scratch his skin under the brace or splint.
- Do not let your child push down or lean on any part of the cast, because it may break.
Take your child to physical therapy as directed:
A physical therapist can teach your child exercises to help improve movement and strength and to decrease pain.
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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.
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.