It’s an instinct for moms to want to protect our children—it’s built into our DNA. And if we see our child hurt or in pain, it’s also an instinct to fly into “mama bear” mode and try to take care of them. That’s why nosebleeds can cause such a panic with us.
But, unfortunately, it’s actually one of the health problems that can cause a panic induced reaction that can lead to the wrong treatment for your child.
Let’s take a look at what can cause a nosebleed and how to stop them.
There are several possible causes of nosebleeds in children. These include:
Dry air—This is the most common cause of nosebleeds in children. If you keep your home heated in the winter or if you live in a region that is especially arid, then your child’s nose can get really dried out. When this happens, it can lead to a nosebleed. My trick to combat this is to use Aquaphor to lubricate my kids nose at night using a Q-tip. Works really well!
Physical injury—This one is probably the scariest, because it happens suddenly and is coupled with fears of a broken nose. It happens often with sports by taking a ball or something similar to the face.
Nasal problems—If your child has a cold or allergies, then it can cause their nasal membranes to become irritated, which can lead to nosebleeds. Sinus or bacterial infections can also be to blame.
Nose picking—It’s gross, but let’s face it: kids pick their noses. Unfortunately, sometimes they scratch the inner lining of their nose causing it to bleed. This one is more common than many people think.
When your child gets a nosebleed, it’s going to be scary for them. Here’s how you can help treat the nosebleed and take care of them:
Have the child sit down and relax. This is important because their natural instinct is to run around and freak out. Sit down, hold their hand, and tell them that it’s going to be OK.
Have them lean forward instead of leaning back or laying down. This is a big one because many people were taught to hold your head back. This just causes the blood to go back down into your nasal passages—not a good thing. Instead, lean forward so that the blood can flow out.
Using gauze or tissue paper, pinch the child’s nose at the bony part right along the bridge. This is important because it will staunch the flow of blood. Make sure to also use the gauze or tissue to cover up the nose to soak up the blood and keep it away from clothes or furniture and carpets. If you have one handy, you can also place a cold compress across the bridge of the nose to help decrease the blood flow.
Tell your child to breathe through their mouth.
Apply pressure for 5-10 minutes until the bleeding stops. Keep the pressure applied and resist the urge to check very often. Checking every thirty seconds will prolong the time it takes to stop the bleeding. If it goes on for more than fifteen minutes, you may need to call a health professional for advice. If the nosebleed is from a physical trauma such as a blunt force injury, then you should call 911 or get medical attention as there may be some other issues at play such as a broken nose.
After the nosebleed stops, avoid any activity for 30 minutes that might cause it to start bleeding again. (This would not be the time to start back into the game and risk taking another shot to the nose.) Part of this is to keep your child from picking or blowing their nose. It’s only natural for them to want to do this to clear out their nose which is probably going to feel stuffy. But if you do this, it could start bleeding again.
Nosebleeds are a fairly common occurrence, especially with active children. If you know ahead of time what to do, you can make sure to exude that “calm and collected” demeanor that will keep your child calm as well.