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First Aid: Nosebleeds

Reviewed by: Kate M. Cronan, MD

First Aid

Although they can be scary, nosebleeds are common in children and usually aren't serious. Most stop on their own and can be treated safely at home. Nosebleeds happen more often in winter and when the air is dry.

What to Do

  • Have your child sit up with his or her head tilted slightly forward. Do not have the child lean back (this may cause gagging, coughing, or vomiting).
  • Pinch the soft part of the nose at the bottom of the nostrils for at least 10 minutes.

Illustration: stopping a nosebleed

Get Medical Care if Your Child:

  • has nosebleeds often
  • may have put something in the nose
  • bruises easily or has heavy bleeding from minor wounds
  • recently started a new medicine

Get Emergency Medical Care if Bleeding:

  • is heavy
  • happens along with dizziness or paleness
  • continues after two or three times of applying pressure for 10 minutes each
  • is the result of a blow to the head or a fall

Think Prevention!

To help prevent dryness in the nose, use saline (saltwater) nasal spray or drops (or put petroleum jelly on the inside edges of the nostrils), and use a humidifier in your child's bedroom. Discourage nose picking and keep kids' fingernails short.

Reviewed by: Kate M. Cronan, MD
Date reviewed: June 2018