By: Lainie Harris, Penfield Children’s Center
While nosebleeds are common in children 3 to 10 years old, they can still be scary when they occur. However, they are rarely cause for alarm. Most nosebleeds in children are caused by nose picking or dry air and will stop on their own and are easy to manage, especially if you follow these guidelines from kidshealth.org.
- Stay calm
- Reassure your child
- Have your child sit upright with his head tilted slightly forward
- Do not have your child lean back. This causes blood to go into the throat and may cause gagging, coughing, or vomiting
- Gently pinch the soft part of the nose with a tissue or clean washcloth
- Keep pressure on the nose for about 10 minutes
- Encourage relaxation during a nosebleed
Possibly the most important detail is to remain calm. If you panic, so will your child. Nervousness may actually cause a nosebleed to worsen. Keeping your child’s head above his heart, as with many injuries, is also important.
Fighting nosebleeds can be tough, especially in the cold and dry months. Here are some tips on prevention.
- Keep the inside of the nose moist
- Use a saline nasal product
- Use a humidifier
- Don’t smoke
- Tell your child not to pick his nose (although that can be tough!)
- Don’t overuse cold and allergy medicine
Dryness is the most easily preventable cause of nose bleeds. While prevention seems simple, many people just accept their chronic nose bleeds. When it comes to your child, these simple steps can save both of you lots of stress.
“If you have dry air in your house and the mucus membranes of the nose are getting dried out, that can irritate the nose,” says Barbara Frankowski, MD, MPH, professor of pediatrics at the University of Vermont College of Medicine and a pediatrician at Vermont Children’s Hospital in Burlington, Vt. Putting a humidifier in your child’s room or other rooms in the home, especially during the dry winter months, can return moisture to the air and help prevent your child’s nose from drying out to the point of bleeding.”
Dr. Frankowski also suggests making sure to always clip your child’s fingernails in order to reduce the damage a child can cause to their nose by picking it.
It may be necessary to call your doctor if your child experiences any of the following symptoms:
- Has nosebleeds often
- May have put something in their nose
- Bruises easily
- Bleeds heavily from minor wounds and/or gums
- Recently went on new medication
Once your child’s nosebleed has stopped, do not allow him to touch or blow his nose. Encourage him to continue breathing through his mouth.
What are some ways to keep your child calm while in a scary situation, such as a nosebleed?