Nosebleeds in Kids

image001Despite being frightening, nosebleeds are actually fairly common. This is especially true for children and in most cases you can easily treat a nosebleed right at home. Epistaxis is the medical term used to describe a nosebleed. When someone has a nosebleed, the blood will flow out of one or both nostrils. It can range from heavy to light and last anywhere from several seconds to over ten minutes. Read on to learn why you kid may have nosebleeds and how you can treat and prevent it.

Causes of Nosebleeds in Kids

Almost all children will get at least one nosebleed (if not more) while they are young. In fact, some preschoolers will have multiple nosebleeds each week and it is not dangerous or abnormal.

  • Experts believe that some people experience nosebleeds at an increased frequency because their veins are located closer to the mucous membrane on the nose. If veins are close to the skin, then they have a higher chance of bursting if touched or provoked. If this is in fact the cause behind your kid’s nosebleeds, your doctor can perform a simple procedure that will cauterize the very front of his nose.
  • Sometimes frequent nosebleeds in children are due to their behavior. A child that excessively picks his nose can irritate its lining. The best way to deal with this is to discourage picking and minimize nosebleeds by cutting your child’s fingernails often and putting petroleum jelly on his nose every night to help hydrate his breathing canals.

Most of the causes for nosebleeds are not serious at all. Some other causes (ranging from most common to least common) are:

  • Allergies and Colds: These will cause irritation and swelling within the nose, leading to spontaneous bleeding.
  • Trauma: Any sort of trauma can cause a nosebleed including picking your nose, blowing too hard, or placing something inside. Other possible trauma includes being hit in the nose with an object or falling and hitting the nose.
  • Irritating Fumes or Low Humidity: In some cases, kids who live in dry homes or environments may experience their nasal lining drying out. This then increases the risk of nosebleeds. The same is also true for frequent exposure to toxic fumes.
  • Abnormal Growths: Abnormal tissues within the nose can lead to bleeding. Most growths will be benign, but you should still seek treatment.
  • Abnormal Blood Clotting: Anything impacting blood clotting can increase the risk of nosebleeds, including certain medications (such as aspirin) and blood diseases (like hemophilia).

Should I Worry About Frequent Nosebleeds in Kids?

In most cases you don’t have to worry about frequent nosebleeds in kids. They are very common for children and this is especially true during the winter (due to the dry air and increase in infections). Sometimes you will even find dry blood on your child’s pillowcase if he had a nocturnal nosebleed. Most children who get nosebleeds a lot will outgrow them by the time they are teens. The only issue to watch out for is that blood doesn’t flow down out of the back of his nose into his throat and mouth as your child might swallow a lot, leading to vomiting.

How to Stop Nosebleeds in Kids

Step 1: The most important thing to do is to stay calm and reassure him if nosebleeds in kids occurs. Ask him to spit out blood in his mouth and then have him sit down on your lap, leaning slightly forward.

Step 2: Take a clean, soft washcloth or tissue and gently pinch his nose shut at the soft part. Apply constant but gentle pressure for a full ten minutes. Keep reminding your kid to breathe with his mouth and keep reassuring him.

Step 3: After ten minutes pass, release the pressure and see if the bleeding stopped. If not, reapply the pressure for ten more minutes. You can also use a cold compress on his bridge. If it still persists, call the doctor.

Caution: Never let your child lie down or tilt his head back as the blood would run down into his throat. Also avoid putting cotton in his nose during or even after a nosebleed. This may disrupt clots which have already formed, causing a new nosebleed when removed.

Watch the following video to learn more tips and precautions on how to stop nosebleeds in kids:

When to Call the Doctor

Despite nosebleeds being completely normal, you will occasionally want to discuss them with your child’s doctor. You should contact the doctor in the following situations:

  • Your toddler develops a nosebleed after a fall or a blow to the nose or head.
  • Your toddler loses a lot of blood. Remember that a lot of the time a nose--bleed will look worse than it is, but you can always talk to the doctor if you are worried.
  • Your toddler starts getting frequent nosebleeds after starting a new medication.
  • Your toddler has nosebleeds more frequently in addition to a nose that is chronically stuffy.
  • Your toddler not only has nose-bleeds, but also bleeds from other spots (like the gums) or bruises easily.

How to Prevent Nosebleeds in Kids

One of the best ways to prevent nose-bleeds in kids is talking to your children about healthy behavior and why he shouldn’t pick his nose. You should also trim his nails to discourage him further. You can also encourage games that avoid injuring the nose and make sure that there aren’t any objects in your child’s nose.

If the bleeding is due to dry air, place a humidifier in your child’s room. If you suspect allergies, talk with your kid’s doctor to find the right treatment or if allergies are even playing a role. In some cases your doctor may recommend saline nose drops to moisten the nose. Always have your kids wear protective equipment when playing sports as this will prevent a nose injury.