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Blunt Abdominal Injury in Children


A blunt abdominal injury in your child

is a forceful blow to the abdomen without an open wound. Your child's risk for damage to internal organs is greater than an adult's. The risk increases because your child's abdominal muscles are not fully developed. If your child is younger, he or she has less abdominal fat than an adult. Organs such as your child's pancreas, liver, spleen, or bladder may be injured. His or her intestines may also be injured. These injuries may cause internal bleeding and can become life-threatening. Your child may have no symptoms at all. Your child may instead have abdominal pain, swelling, or bruises.

Call 911 for any of the following:

  • Your child's skin is pale and feels cold.
  • Your child has difficulty breathing.
  • Your child has shortness of breath.

Seek immediate care if:

  • Your child has increased pain or tightness in his or her abdomen.
  • Your child has new pain in his or her shoulder.
  • Your child is dizzy or vomiting.
  • Your child has blood in his or her urine or bowel movements.

Contact your child's healthcare provider if:

  • Your child is not having bowel movements.
  • Your child has fever.
  • Your child has yellow eyes or skin.
  • You have questions or concerns about your child's care or condition.

Treatment for your child's blunt abdominal injury

depends on how severe your child's injury is. Mild injuries, such as bruising and soreness, will be monitored for a short time. Your child may be given medicine to decrease pain. Severe injuries, such as damage to organs, blood vessels, and bones, may need surgery.

Limit your child's activity:

Have your child rest as directed. This will help decrease pain and prevent more injury. Ask your child's healthcare provider when your child can resume normal activities. The following activities will need to be stopped until your child's healthcare provider says it is okay:

  • Gym class
  • Sports
  • Bicycle, skateboard, or scooter riding
  • Activity where both of your child's feet are off the ground, such as jumping on a trampoline

Follow up with your child's healthcare provider as directed:

Your child may need more tests. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your child's visits.

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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.

Learn more about Blunt Abdominal Injury in Children (Ambulatory Care)

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.