A nosebleed (epistaxis) is bleeding from tissues inside the nose (nasal mucus membranes) caused by a broken blood vessel. Children usually experience nosebleeds in the front of the nose, close to the nostrils.
Nosebleeds are common in children and usually not a medical concern.
What causes a nosebleed in a child?
Common causes of a nosebleed in children include:
- Dry air
- Picking the nose
- Blowing the nose too hard
- Injury to the nose
- Colds and allergies
- A foreign object in the nose
Chronic nosebleeds may be a sign of something more serious.
How is a nosebleed diagnosed in a child?
Your Pediatric Provider will gather medical history and ask about recent accidents, injuries, and activities. The provider will examine the nosebleed and control the bleeding if necessary.
How to stop a nosebleed for a child?
- Keep calm. Bloody noses can be scary, but they are rarely dangerous.
- Lean forward. If there is blood in their mouth, spit it out; do not swallow it.
- Stay upright. Do not tilt your child’s head back or lay them flat. This may cause you to choke on blood. Blood in the stomach can cause vomiting.
- Try a spray. Apply three sprays of decongestant nose spray, such as Afrin, on the side that is bleeding.
- Skip foreign objects. Apply a cold compress to the bridge of the nose. Do not pack the nose with tissues, cotton, or gauze. This can make the bleeding worse.
- Use a pinch. Pinch the soft part of their nose shut for 10 minutes. Tell your child to breathe out of their mouth. Use a clock to keep track of time. Resist the urge to peek after a few minutes to see if their nose has stopped bleeding.
- Observe and react. After 10 minutes, let go of their nose. If it is still bleeding, soak a cotton ball with the nose spray. Place the cotton ball into the bleeding nostril and pinch for 10 minutes. Use a clock to time it.
- Check their blood pressure. High blood pressure can cause nosebleeds.
- Take it easy. Once bleeding has stopped, do not let them blow their nose for two days.
- Avoid exertion. It can take up to two weeks to heal.
If your child’s nose doesn’t stop bleeding, take them to see the healthcare provider.
When should I call my child’s Pediatric Provider?
Call the healthcare provider if:
- You can’t stop the nosebleed
- The nose bleeds again
- Your child has an injury to the head or face
- There is a large amount of blood
- Your child feels faint, weak, ill, or has trouble breathing
- Your child has bleeding from other parts of the body, such as in the stool, urine, or gums, or bruises easily
- An object lodged in your child’s nose