Child with a nosebleed

How to treat and prevent nosebleeds

Many children experience nosebleeds, some frequently.

"Most cases of nosebleeds are caused by dryness of the nasal lining and the normal rubbing and picking that children do when their noses are blocked or itchy," explained Dr. Aaron Carlisle, family medicine physician at Community Physician Network.

While it may be frightening for a child to experience a nosebleed, they are easily treated. Dr. Carlisle recommends parents follow these steps to stop nosebleeds:

  1. Have your child blow their nose to remove any clots and spit out any blood that may be in their mouths.
  2. Grasp the soft part of the nose – just under the bony part – and squeeze firmly.
  3. Have your child place their chin on the chest and hold for 10 minutes.
  4. If bleeding persists, insert some gauze covered in petroleum jelly partially into the nose and squeeze again for 10 minutes. 
  5. Leave the gauze in place for another 10 minutes before pulling it out. 
  6. If bleeding persists, seek medical attention.

He also encourages parents not to use a cold compresses to help stop the bleeding.

"This is a common myth, and has not been shown to be true," said Carlisle. "Pressing on the bony part of nose will also not help bleeding, as you cannot compress bone."

In addition to knowing how to properly stop a nosebleed, there are simple ways that a parent can help prevent their child from getting frequent nosebleeds.

"If your child has allergies, antihistamines can help break the itching/bleeding cycle," Carlisle stated. "Nasal saline sprays can also help to loosen mucus before blowing the nose."

Parents can also apply petroleum jelly to a cotton swab and apply to inside of their child's nose to help prevent dryness. Just think of it as chap stick for the nose.