It’s common for kids to have at least one nosebleed — if not many — during early childhood. Dry air is typically the No. 1 culprit, but there are many causes, including colds, allergies and even nose-picking.
While nosebleeds are often harmless, it doesn’t make them any less alarming.
How to stop a nosebleed
- Place tissues or a damp cloth under the nose, and keep your child sitting up.
- Tilt your child’s head forward and pinch the soft part of the nose (the nostrils) together just below the bony center for five minutes.
- Steady pressure should stop the nosebleed within 10 minutes. But it has to be steady pressure, so don’t keep checking to see if the bleeding has stopped.
If your child’s nose is still bleeding, repeat the process for 10 minutes and if it still doesn’t work, see a doctor.
Things not to do
- Don’t blow the nose, because that can cause more nosebleeds.
- Don’t tilt your child’s head back — even though you might have seen this done before. This will cause blood to run back into the throat and could lead to coughing, choking and even vomiting.
- Do not stuff the nose with facial tissues as this encourages further bleeding.
Preventing nosebleeds can be as simple as using a humidifier at home, or using ointment that keeps your child’s nostrils moisturized. It’s always good to remind your child not to pick his or her nose. Wearing socks over the hands at bedtime can keep kids from picking their nose while sleeping.
When to call the doctor
Most nosebleeds are easily controlled, but frequent nosebleeds — more than once a week — should be brought to the attention of a pediatrician. It’s possible that your child might need to be evaluated by a pediatric ear, nose and throat specialist.
Seek emergency care if your child’s bleeding is heavy or accompanied by dizziness or weakness or if the bleeding started after a fall or head injury.
Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin has primary care offices conveniently located throughout southeast Wisconsin, including offices in Pewaukee and Delafield. Find a pediatrician near you.
Learn more about Anjali Sharma, MD.