Toddler Broken Collarbone

Toddler broken collarbone treatment, diagnosis, and keeping safe

Can a toddler have a broken collarbone? Yes, and as many parents may already know, toddlers are particularly susceptible to such breaks. Continue reading to better understand a toddler broken collarbone.

Many of their bones have not yet fully developed, and with a full day of playing, tripping, and falling it is easy to see why a toddler’s broken collar bone is a worry for many moms and dads.

The collar bone, also known as the clavicle, is the long protruding bone that runs from the shoulders to the upper chest. In adults, the bone is hard and sturdy (though still liable to break in the right circumstances), however in young children it has not yet hardened completely, leaving it fragile. It is not rare for collarbones to break during breach births or otherwise difficult deliveries.

To ensure your child has healthy bone development throughout their formative years, finding any and all serious injuries as soon as possible is essential. This may prove difficult as children aren’t always able to vocalize their pain or other symptoms. To keep them safe, try and stay alert of all the tell-tale signs of a broken collar bone, so that next time your child is suffering, you can get them the help they need as soon as possible.

What to watch out for

It can be hard for parents to keep track of all their little children’s bumps and bruises, and even more serious conditions like a broken collar bone can go unnoticed for hours or days before the problem becomes apparent. To spot a broken collar bone early, pay attention to how your toddler moves.

They will want to keep their arm on the side of the break still, or hold it to their chest. They won’t want to be picked up by the arms and doing so can cause them great pain. In severe cases, they may continue crying uncontrollably and cover the affected area. After a week, a lump will develop in the area, which is a sign of a fracture.

Diagnosis of toddler broken collarbone

Obviously, seeking medical attention as soon as possible after any broken bone is a necessity. When the injury is discovered, remember to collect as much information as possible, as the doctor will ask about how the break occurred.

Using this information alongside the help of X-rays, the doctor will be able to find the exact location of the break and prescribe an effective treatment. One major priority is to ensure that the bone has not damaged any surrounding nerves or blood vessels.

Treatment of toddler broken collarbone

Depending on the age of your child and the severity of their break, your doctor can prescribe a cast, sling, or wrap, as well as pain medication which can help ease the young patient’s suffering.

In serious breaks, the bone itself can become disjointed, which will require surgery and a more involved medical procedure to ensure the bone heals correctly. After the initial treatment is complete, physical therapy is sometimes recommended, which can help get their arm back in top shape.

In some cases the bone can actually heal on its own, without the aid of a sling or wrap. However it is best to let a qualified medical professional make this decision, as they are the best judge of the severity of such injuries.

If improperly treated, a broken collar bone can lead to long-term growth abnormalities, which may restrict the child’s movement for the rest of their life.

Staying Safe

The best defense against broken bones is prevention. And while it may be impossible to protect your child from every scrape and fall, a few simple protective measures can be a big help. Paying close attention between the ages of one and three is crucial, as this is when they are most active and when their bones are still easily breakable.

Depending on how early they learn to talk, it is a good idea to check them regularly to see that they have full motion of their arms, and aren’t suffering silently without a way to express their pain.

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Last Reviewed:
August 21, 2017
Last Updated:
October 18, 2017
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