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Nosebleed in Children


A nosebleed

, or epistaxis, occurs when one or more of the blood vessels in your child's nose break. He may have dark or bright red blood from one or both nostrils. A nosebleed is most commonly caused by a foreign object stuck in your child's nose, or from your child picking his nose.

Seek care immediately if:

  • Your child's nose is still bleeding after 20 minutes, even after you pinch it.
  • Your child has trouble breathing or talking.
  • Your child has a foul-smelling discharge coming out of his nose.
  • Your child says he is dizzy or weak, or has trouble standing up.

Contact your child's healthcare provider if:

  • Your child has a fever and is vomiting.
  • Your child has pain in and around his nose.
  • You have questions or concerns about your child's condition or care.

First aid:

  • Have your child sit up and lean forward. This will help prevent him from swallowing blood. Have him spit blood and saliva into a bowl.
  • Apply pressure to your child's nose. Use 2 fingers to pinch his nose shut for 10 to 15 minutes. This will help stop the bleeding. Encourage him to breathe through his mouth.
  • Apply ice on the bridge of your child's nose to decrease swelling and bleeding. Use a cold pack or put crushed ice in a plastic bag. Cover it with a towel to protect your child's skin.
  • Gently pack your child's nose with a cotton ball, tissue, tampon, or gauze bandage to stop the bleeding.

Treatment for your child's severe nosebleed

may include any of the following if the bleeding does not stop after first aid is done:

  • Medicines may be applied to a small piece of cotton and placed in your child's nose. Medicine may also be sprayed in or applied directly to your child's nose.
  • Cautery is when a chemical or electric device is used to seal the blood vessels. This may be done to stop bleeding or prevent more bleeding. Local anesthesia may be used.

Prevent another nosebleed:

  • Keep your child's nose moist. Put a small amount of petroleum jelly inside your child's nostrils as needed. Use a saline (saltwater) nasal spray. Do not put anything else inside your child's nose unless his healthcare provider says it is okay. Do not use oil-based lubricants if your child uses oxygen therapy. They may be flammable.
  • Use a cool mist humidifier to increase air moisture in your home. This will help your child's nose stay moist.
  • Remind your child to not pick or blow his nose too hard. Keep your child's nails trimmed short to decrease trauma from nose picking. He can irritate or damage his nose if he picks it. Blowing his nose too hard may cause the bleeding to start again.
  • Have your child wear appropriate, protective gear when he plays sports. This will help protect his nose from trauma.

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

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