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When Does My Child Need to Go to the ER for a Nose Injury?

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When Does My Child Need to Go to the ER for a Nose Injury?

Oct 03, 2022

Does your child’s nose seem to be a trauma magnet, constantly getting bumped, bruised, and bloodied? It’s pretty typical for kids to hurt their nose as they play and explore. Cindy Gellner, MD, talks about how you should treat your child’s injured nose at home and when it’s time to go to the doctor.

Episode Transcript

It can be really scary to see your child get bonked in the nose. Some noses seem to be trauma magnets and when they get hit, they get bloody, bruised and swollen. Luckily, in most cases, the nose isn't broken.

First Steps for Treating an Injured Nose

If your child's nose is hit, first, take care of the bruising and the swelling, by putting ice on the nose for about 20 minutes, and repeat this again in an hour.

You can give your child Tylenol or Motrin for pain. If there is a cut on the nose, clean the area with soap and water, and then cover it with gauze to stop the bleeding. Once the bleeding has stopped, you can put on antibiotic ointment and a Band-Aid to keep the area clean.

Be prepared for a nose bleed because this will happen. Noses have a great blood supply which means, they can make a literal bloody mess. Bleeding that goes on continuously for more than 30 minutes, though, that's concerning.

When to Seek Professional Help

If you're not sure if your child's nose is really broken, wait a few days and let the swelling go down. If you're not sure, and your child can breathe okay, and the nose isn't crooked, wait about four to five days, to see what the nose looks like after the swelling is gone. If it still looks odd, ENT needs to see them quickly, because the nose will need to be reset by ten days after the injury.

If your child's nose is crooked, or they can't breathe out of it, they need to be seen in the ER. X-rays won't help diagnose a broken nose, and if there's a concern that your child's nose needs ENT to see them urgently, a CT scan may be done to see how bad the damage is, and how quickly it needs to be fixed.

Noses will get hit, but most heal fine by themselves.


updated: October 3, 2022
originally published: September 26, 2016