A broken rib is a crack or break in one of the bones of the rib cage. Breathing can be very painful, because the muscles used for breathing pull on the rib.
In most cases, a broken rib will heal on its own. Your child can take pain medicine while the rib mends. Pain relief allows your child to take deep breaths. In the past, doctors recommended taping or wrapping broken ribs. This is no longer done, because taping makes it hard to take deep breaths. Taking deep breaths at least once an hour may help prevent pneumonia or a partial collapse of a lung.
Your child's rib will heal in about 6 weeks.
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 call line 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.
Call 911 anytime you think your child may need emergency care. For example, call if:
Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:
Watch closely for changes in your child's health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:
Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd
Enter Y754 in the search box to learn more about "Broken Rib in Children: Care Instructions".
Current as of: March 21, 2017
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
& Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine
©2006-2017 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
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.