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Blunt Chest Trauma in Children

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Jan 5, 2023.


Blunt chest trauma

is a sudden, forceful injury to your child's chest. It is often caused by a car accident, sport's injury, or a fall. Your child may have no signs or symptoms. Instead, your child may have bruising, or pain and soreness. The pain may get worse when he or she moves, deep breathes, or coughs. You may notice your child holding the injured area. It may take up to 8 weeks for your child to be completely healed.

Call 911 if:

  • Your child has trouble breathing, or your child's lips are pale or blue.
  • Your child is short of breath.

Seek care immediately for your child if:

  • Your child has a fever.
  • Your child is coughing up yellow, green, or bloody sputum.
  • Your child has new or increased pain.

Contact your child's healthcare provider if:

  • Your child's pain does not get better, even after your child takes pain medicine.
  • Your child's pain does not get better within 8 weeks.
  • You have questions or concerns about your child's condition or care.

Treatment for blunt chest trauma

may include medicines such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen. These medicines will help decrease pain and swelling. They can be bought without a doctor's order. Ask your child's healthcare provider how much medicine is safe to give your child. Also ask how often to give it.

Apply heat:

Heat helps decrease pain and muscle spasms. Apply heat on the area for 20 to 30 minutes every 2 to 6 hours for as many days as directed.

Have your child take deep breaths and cough:

Deep breathing and coughing helps prevent pneumonia. Have your child take a deep breath and hold it as long as he or she can. Then, have your child let out the breath and cough forcefully. Have your child repeat this 10 times every hour while awake. Your child may need to hug a pillow to his or her chest while doing this exercise. This will help decrease pain.

Have your child rest:

as directed. Do not let your child play contact sports. Do not let your child do activities that could cause him or her to get hit in the chest. Ask your child's healthcare provider when he or she can return to normal activities.

Follow up with your child's doctor as directed:

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.

Further information

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