Toddler care: Dealing with a fractured collarbone

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Among children, the collarbone is likely to break most often. Even though a fractured collarbone might be a sign of neglect or child abuse, it is typically brought about by the regular, rowdy activities of toddlers. Since children at this phase could not vocalize their pain, it is vital to be familiar with the indications of the injury.

The collarbone is prone to breakage near the center, but some damage can arise at the site in which the bone links to the rib cage.

What are the possible causes?

Always bear in mind that toddlers are likely to end up with a fractured collarbone upon falling with the hands extended to the ground. Falling directly on the tip of the shoulder can also damage the bone.

There are blood vessels and nerves beneath the collarbone, but they are not often damaged if the bone endures trauma. Oftentimes, the bone produces a popping sound once it breaks, but you will not know that it is broken until the toddler shows other signs.

Always bear in mind that toddlers are likely to end up with a fractured collarbone upon falling with the hands extended to the ground.

What are the signs?

If a child is suspected with a fractured collarbone, he/she does not want to move the arm or keeps it near to the side of the body. In case the child is picked up under his/her arms and cries out or if there is a bump, swelling or bruise on the collarbone, a fracture is likely.

Other indications that the child has a fracture include:

  • Child could not lift his/her arm
  • Grinding sensation when the child tries to raise his/her arms

Management of a fractured collarbone

If the toddler has a fractured collarbone where the ends of the bones are still aligned, it generally recuperates without requiring surgery. The doctor will utilize a wrap or sling to stabilize the arm along with pain medications if needed.

In case the bony ends are significantly displaced, the surgeon might insert plates and screws to align the bone to promote correct healing. Once the injury has healed, the doctor might prescribe physical therapy to strengthen the shoulder that is weak or stiff after using a sling for an extended period.

More Information / Disclaimer

The information posted on this page on a fractured collarbone is for learning purposes only. Learn to recognize the signs of injury by taking a standard first aid course with Victoria First Aid

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