A fractured rib could not be readily identified since infants could not tell if there is something wrong. Once an infant sustained chest trauma, a doctor should be consulted for immediate diagnosis and care. A cracked rib that is left untreated can result to significant damage to the internal organs.
Does my child have a fractured rib?
The injury could not be identified until an X-ray, MRI or CT scan are requested to diagnose the issue. The region in the chest where the fracture occurs might appear swollen, bruised and tender to the touch.
The infant might start to wheeze while breathing or there is a crackling sound while breathing. Deep breathing can be painful thus the child might by fussy and irritable.
What are the possible causes?
Most cases of fracture among infants is due to child abuse. Other possible causes include birth trauma and other conditions such as rickets and being premature. A fractured rib can also be brought about by severe episodes of coughing particularly with whooping cough.
Relief from pain is usually the only treatment required. Pain medications such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen can provide relief for infants, but a doctor should be consulted so that the proper dosage can be given which is based on the weight.
An ice pack can be applied on the site of the fracture for 10 minutes a few times a day to reduce the swelling and inflammation, but not directly on the skin.
Once a child is suspected of being abused, get in touch with the local department of human services.
When frustrated with a crying child, it is recommended to place the child safely in his/her crib and call a family member for help in calming the child.
It is also important to minimize the chances of injuries by making sure that the house is clean and free from clutter to prevent trips or falls while holding a baby. Make sure that all rugs or mats have a skid-proof base. In addition, the child should be placed in a car seat and ensure that it is properly secured.
More Information / Disclaimer
The information posted on this page on a fractured rib is for learning purposes only. Learn to recognize and manage broken bones including fractured ribs by taking a standard first aid course with Red Deer First Aid.