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First Aid: Nosebleeds

Reviewed by: Kate M. Cronan, MD

First Aid

They can be scary, but nosebleeds are common in children and usually aren't serious. Most stop on their own and can be cared for 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 your 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.

Picture shows a child with a nosebleed pinching the nose and leaning forward

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!

Keep the inside of your child's nose moist with saline (saltwater) nasal spray or gel, or dab petroleum jelly or antibiotic ointment gently around the opening of the nostrils. You also can 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