700 Children's Blog

What Is the Right Way to Stop a Nosebleed?

Jul 23, 2015
At some point during childhood, almost every kid will have a nosebleed. Despite the fact that nosebleeds are so common, many parents are unsure about the best way to stop a nosebleed. Here are some tips about caring for nosebleeds – and when it’s time to get your pediatrician involved.
  • Pinch, don't panic. Pinch both nostrils shut right below the bony part of the nose (on the soft cartilage part of the nose), applying steady pressure for at least five minutes.  Avoid checking to see if bleeding has stopped during that time.  Have your child breathe through the mouth and avoid  talking, laughing or crying. If the bleeding hasn’t stopped after five minutes of continuous pressure, pinch the nostrils shut for another five minutes. If your child has an injury to the face, something stuck in the nose, trouble breathing or the bleeding hasn’t stopped after 10 minutes, seek medical attention.
  • Lean in, not back. Have your child either sit or stand, and tilt the head forward slightly. This helps to prevent the blood from going down the back of the throat, which can cause gagging or vomiting. If your child has blood in their mouth encourage the child to spit it out instead of swallowing it.
  • No stuffing. Do not stuff the nose with cotton or tissue, which could stick to the blood clot and reopen the wound when the material is removed.
  • Cool down. Apply a cool, wet or ice-filled cloth on the bridge of the nose and cheeks. This can help slow bleeding as well as swelling that may have been caused by an injury.
  • Bloody noses can be scary. There are hundreds of tiny, fragile blood vessels in the lining of the nose. It doesn’t take much to cause them to bleed. Sometimes, it can seem like a lot of blood, especially to a child. Keep reassuring your child that they will be OK.

Too many nosebleeds?

If your child has more than one bloody nose a week, it may be time to see your pediatrician or a pediatric ENT (ear, nose and throat specialist). They can advise you on additional steps to take or procedures that can reduce the frequency or severity of bloody noses.

Many nosebleeds are caused simply by nose picking. Low humidity, upper respiratory infections and allergies can all make the nose more sensitive to injury. Applying saline gel or Vaseline ointment, and/or using a humidifier at night to moisturize nasal tissues can help prevent nosebleeds – but the best advice is to tell kids to keep their fingers (and toys) out of their nose.

If you think it's time to see a pediatric ENT, you can request an appointment online.

Featured Expert

Jonathan M. Grischkan, MD
Otolaryngology, Physician

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700 Children’s features the most current pediatric health care information and research from our pediatric experts – physicians and specialists who have seen it all. Many of them are parents and bring a special understanding to what our patients and families experience. If you have a child – or care for a child – 700 Children’s was created especially for you.