Although they can be scary, nosebleeds are rarely cause for alarm. Common in kids ages 3 to 10 years, nosebleeds often stop on their own and can be treated safely at home.
What to Do:
- Stay calm and reassure your child.
- With your child upright in a chair or in your lap, tilt his or her head slightly forward.
- Gently pinch the nose (just below the bony ridge) with a tissue or clean washcloth.
- Keep pressure on the nose for about 10 minutes; if you stop too soon, bleeding may start again. It may also help to apply ice wrapped in a paper towel.
- Do not have your child lean back. This may cause blood to flow down the back of the throat, which tastes bad and may cause gagging, coughing, or vomiting.
- Have your child to rest for a while after a nosebleed. Discourage nose-blowing, picking, or rubbing, and any rough play.
Call the Doctor if Your Child:
- has frequent nosebleeds
- may have put something in his or her nose
- tends to bruise easily
- has heavy bleeding from minor wounds or bleeding from another place, such as the gums
- recently started taking new medicine
Seek Emergency Care or Call the Doctor if Bleeding:
- is heavy, or is accompanied by dizziness or weakness
- is the result of a fall or blow to the head
- continues after two attempts of applying pressure for 10 minutes each
Preventing Future Nosebleeds
Most nosebleeds are caused by zealous blowing or picking, or a blow to the nose during rough play. In the wintertime, especially, if your child's bed is near a heater, the membranes inside the nose can become dried and itchy, causing your child to pick at his or her nose and further irritate the nasal tissue. Colds, other viruses, and allergies may also irritate the lining of the nose.
To help prevent nosebleeds:
- Keep your child's nails short to prevent injuries from nose-picking.
- Keep the inside of your child's nose moist with saline nasal spray or dab petroleum jelly gently around the opening of the nostrils.
- Humidify your child's room with a vaporizer (or humidifier) if the air in your home is dry. Look for a cool mist model, as a hot steam humidifier could scald a child. Keep the machine clean to prevent mildew build-up.
- Make sure your child wears protective athletic equipment when participating in sports that could cause a nose injury.
Even when taking proper precautions, kids can still get a bloody nose occasionally. So the next time your child gets a nosebleed, try not to panic. They're usually harmless and are almost always easy to stop.
Reviewed by: Steven Dowshen, MD
Date reviewed: November 2007