Nosebleeds are common amongst children and are rarely cause for concern. Nosebleeds occur when small blood vessels in the nose burst and bleed. The inside of the nose is delicate and has blood vessels close to the surface, which are fragile making them easy to burst.
Causes of nosebleeds in children
- Infection in the nose.
- Foreign bodies (such as when the child puts something up their nose).
- Your child picking their nose.
- Blowing their nose too hard.
- Getting knocked in the nose during activity.
- Excessive straining (can occur when constipated).
- Bleeding is usually minimal (even though it may look like a lot) and brief.
- The most effective treatment for a nosebleed is to apply firm pressure with your thumb and finger either side of the nostrils for 10 minutes.
- Sit your child upright and leaning forward slightly.
- Apply an ice pack or cool cloth to the back of the neck as this may help.
- Offer an icy pole or a drink to help get rid of the yucky taste of blood in your child’s mouth.
- Encourage your child to spit out any blood they have in their mouth.
It is important to keep firm pressure with your fingers on the nose rather than removing them and checking whether the bleeding has stopped. The blood needs to form a clot. After the allocated time you may check the child’s nose, if it is still bleeding repeat for another 10 minutes.
Your child should not run around or play rough in the first few hours after the nosebleed. They should be discouraged from picking or blowing their nose in the first 24 hours after the bleeding has stopped.
If you are unable to stop the bleeding you will need to see your doctor or an emergency department where they will look up your child’s nose with a light to see the bleeding blood vessel.
The medical professional may:
- Apply a gauze pack.
- Apply a special ointment or cream that slows the blood flow.
- Use a special chemical to stop the bleeding such as cauterization.
Things to remember
- Nosebleeds are common in children and often result from something harmless.
- Treatment is based on first aid principles.