Broken Nose in Children: Care Instructions

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Child with broken nose, with inside view of broken nose bones


A broken nose is a break, or fracture, of the bone or cartilage. Most broken noses need only home care and a follow-up visit with a doctor. The swelling should go down in a few days. Bruises around your child's eyes and nose should go away in 2 to 3 weeks.

Healthy habits can help your child heal. Give your child a variety of healthy foods. And don't smoke around your child.

Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child takes.

How can you care for your child at home?

  • If your child has a nasal splint or packing, leave it in place until a doctor removes it.
  • If the doctor prescribed antibiotics, give them to your child as directed. Do not stop giving them just because your child feels better. Your child needs to take the full course of antibiotics.
  • Give your child a decongestant as directed to help your child breathe after the splint or packing is removed. The doctor may give your child a prescription or suggest over-the-counter medicine.
  • Be safe with medicines. Give pain medicines exactly as directed.
    • If the doctor gave your child a prescription medicine for pain, give it as prescribed.
    • If your child is not taking a prescription pain medicine, ask the doctor if your child can take an over-the-counter medicine.
  • Put ice or a cold pack on your child's nose for 10 to 20 minutes at a time. Try to do this every 1 to 2 hours for the first 3 days (when your child is awake) or until the swelling goes down. Put a thin cloth between the ice pack and your child's skin.
  • Keep your child's head slightly raised while sleeping until the swelling goes down. Prop up your child's head on pillows.
  • Ask the doctor when it's okay for your child to return to their normal activities.

When should you call for help?

Call 911 anytime you think your child may need emergency care. For example, call if:

  • Your child has trouble breathing.
  • Your child passes out (loses consciousness).

Call your doctor now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • Your child has signs of infection, such as:
    • Increased pain, swelling, warmth, or redness.
    • Red streaks leading from the area.
    • Pus draining from the area.
    • A fever.
  • Your child has clear fluid draining from the nose.
  • Your child has vision changes.
  • Your child has swelling or a bump on the thin wall (nasal septum) between the nostrils of your child's nose.
  • Your child's nose is bleeding.
  • Your child has new or worse pain.

Watch closely for changes in your child's health, and be sure to contact your doctor if:

  • Your child does not get better as expected.

Where can you learn more?

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The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.