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Facial Fracture in Children: Care Instructions

Your Care Instructions

A facial fracture in a child is when your child has broken (fractured) one or more bones in his or her face. Swelling and bruising from the injury are likely to get worse over the first couple of days. After that, the swelling should steadily improve until it is gone. If your child has bruises on the face, they may change as they heal. The skin may turn from black and blue to green to yellow or brown before it returns to its normal colour.

It is very important that your child gets follow-up care as directed so that the injury heals properly and does not lead to problems. The kind of care and treatment your child needs depends on the specific type of break (or breaks) your child has.

Healthy habits can help your child heal. Give your child a variety of healthy foods. And don't smoke around him or her.

Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child takes.

How can you care for your child at home?

  • Put ice or a cold pack on your child's injury for 10 to 20 minutes at a time. Try to do this every 1 to 2 hours for the next 3 days (when your child is awake) or until the swelling goes down. Put a thin cloth between the ice pack and the skin.
  • Bring your child to all follow-up appointments with your doctor. Your doctor will determine whether your child needs further treatment, including surgery.
  • Have your child take medicines exactly as prescribed. Call your doctor or nurse advice line if you think your child is having a problem with his or her medicine. You will get more details on the specific medicines your doctor prescribes.
  • If the doctor prescribed antibiotics for your child, give them as directed. Do not stop using them just because your child feels better. Your child needs to take the full course of antibiotics.
  • Be safe with medicines. Read and follow all instructions on the label.
    • If the doctor gave your child a prescription medicine for pain, give it as prescribed.
    • If your child is not taking a prescription pain medicine, ask your doctor if your child can take an over-the-counter medicine.
  • Do not give a child two or more pain medicines at the same time unless the doctor told you to. Many pain medicines have acetaminophen, which is Tylenol. Too much acetaminophen (Tylenol) can be harmful.
  • Keep your child's head raised when he or she sleeps.
  • Give your child soft food to decrease jaw pain.
  • Your child should not blow his or her nose. Dab it with a tissue if you need to.

When should you call for help?

Call 911 anytime you think your child may need emergency care. For example, call if:

  • Your child has a seizure.
  • Your child passes out (loses consciousness).
  • Your child has tingling, weakness, or numbness on one side of the body.

Call your doctor or nurse advice line now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • Your child has a severe headache.
  • Your child develops double vision.
  • Your child has a fever and stiff neck.
  • Clear, watery fluid drains from your child's nose.
  • Your child feels dizzy or light-headed.
  • Your child has new eye pain or changes in vision, such as blurring.
  • Your child has new ear pain, ringing in the ears, or trouble hearing.
  • Your child is confused, irritable, or not acting normally.
  • Your child has a hard time standing, walking, or talking.
  • Your child has new mouth or tooth pain or has trouble chewing.
  • Your child has increasing pain even after he or she has taken pain medicine.

Watch closely for changes in your child's health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse advice line if:

  • Your child develops a cough, cold, or sinus infection.
  • The symptoms from your child's injury are not steadily improving.

Where can you learn more?

Go to

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Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.