What To Do If Your Child Has A Displaced Fracture
A displaced fracture is a severe bone break where the two ends of the fractured bone become separated out of their regular position. Sometimes the ends of the bone may even pierce through the skin like in a compound fracture or the bones can stay in the skin like a closed fracture. Kids play hard and they fall harder so fractures or broken bones are bound to happen. Typically, fractures in children occur in the forearm, wrist and above the elbow because when they stumble, their first instinct is to break their fall with their hands.
Is It Broken?
While falls are part of childhood, not every one has to result in a displaced fracture. Traditional signs are swelling, pain and deformity but if the bones are not displaced, it is often harder to tell. Signs to look for include:
- Your child or yourself heard a grinding type of noise or a snap when the injury occurred.
- There is tenderness, swelling or bruising on and around the injured area.
- Your child is in pain to move the body part or for you to touch it.
- The injured area looks either mildly or severely deformed. In some cases you will visibly be able to see the bone protruding through the skin.
What Do You Do?
If you think that your child may have a displaced fracture, it is important to not move your them and call an ambulance if you suspect that they may have an injury to the neck, head or back. Also, you should keep the child stationary if the bone is penetrating through the skin. If this is the case, you need to apply pressure with a clean cloth to absorb the blood but do not try to push the bone back or wash the wound.
For injuries that appear to be less serious, you should stabilize the injury by:
- Removing any cloth away from the injured area. Be sure to never force the body part out of the material. It is often easier to cut the clothing off to make sure that you do not cause any additional pain to your child.
- Apply an ice pack wrapped up in a cloth or a cold compress to the injured area. Never allow the ice to touch your child's skin.
- Place a board, rolled up newspaper or anything that you have handy to use as a splint to keep the area stationary until you can get to the emergency room. Hold it in place with ribbon, yarn or first aid tape if you have some.
- Seek medical attention and do not let your child eat in case surgery is necessary.
Types Of Fractures
An X-ray will be able to determine if your child has a displaced fracture or not. Keep in mind that children have very soft bones so they often bend rather than break.
- Buckle Fracture – One side bends on the bone and then raises a bit but does not break the opposite side.
- Greenstick Fracture – Only one side is broken on the bone while the other side bends.
- Closed Fracture – This type of fracture does not break the skin.
- Compound Fracture – The bone pierces through the skin.
- Displaced Fracture – Each piece on opposite sides of the broken bone are not properly aligned.
- Hairline Fracture – A very thin break is present in the bone.
- Segmental Fracture – Several places of one bone are broken.
- Comminuted Fracture – The bone is either crushed or broke into several pieces.
The most important thing to remember whether your child has a displaced fracture or any other type of injury is to remain calm. If you panic, your child will also react the same way which will do nothing to help the situation.