Facial Fracture in Children: Care Instructions

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Your child has broken (fractured) one or more bones in their face. Swelling and bruising from the injury are likely to get worse over the first couple of days. After that, the swelling should steadily improve until it is gone.

If your child has bruises on the face, they may change as they heal. The skin may turn from black and blue to green to yellow or brown before it returns to its normal color.

It's important to take your child to all doctor visits to make sure the injury heals well.

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?

  • Put ice or a cold pack on your child's injury for 10 to 20 minutes at a time. Try to do this every 1 to 2 hours for the next 3 days (when your child is awake). Put a thin cloth between the ice pack and the skin.
  • Bring your child to all follow-up appointments with your doctor. Your doctor will determine whether your child needs further treatment, including surgery.
  • If the doctor prescribed antibiotics for your child, give them as directed. Do not stop using them just because your child feels better. Your child needs to take the full course of antibiotics.
  • Be safe with medicines. Read and follow all instructions on the label.
    • If your child is not taking a prescription pain medicine, ask your doctor if your child can take an over-the-counter medicine.
    • If the doctor gave your child a prescription medicine for pain, give it as prescribed.
    • Store your child's prescription pain medicines where no one else can get to them. When you are done using them, dispose of them quickly and safely. Your local pharmacy or hospital may have a drop-off site.
  • Keep your child's head raised when they sleep.
  • Give your child soft food to decrease jaw pain.
  • Your child should not blow their nose. Dab it with a tissue if you need to.

When should you call for help?

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

  • Your child has a seizure.
  • Your child passes out (loses consciousness).
  • Your child has tingling, weakness, or numbness on one side of the body.

Call your doctor now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • Your child has a severe headache.
  • Your child develops double vision.
  • Your child has a fever and stiff neck.
  • Clear, watery fluid drains from your child's nose.
  • Your child feels dizzy or lightheaded.
  • Your child has new eye pain or changes in vision, such as blurring.
  • Your child has new ear pain, ringing in the ears, or trouble hearing.
  • Your child is confused, irritable, or not acting normally.
  • Your child has a hard time standing, walking, or talking.
  • Your child has new mouth or tooth pain or has trouble chewing.
  • Your child has increasing pain even after taking pain medicine.

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

  • Your child develops a cough, cold, or sinus infection.
  • The symptoms from your child's injury are not steadily improving.

Where can you learn more?

Go to http://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

Enter Q738 in the search box to learn more about "Facial Fracture in Children: Care Instructions".

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.