Nosebleeds in Children: Causes and Remedies

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Published on October 23, 2019

Nosebleeds in Children: Causes and Remedies

Photo of girl holding a tissue to her nosePhoto of girl holding a tissue to her noseAlthough it can be startling to suddenly see blood coming out of your child’s nose, nosebleeds in children are rarely cause for alarm. Nosebleeds are actually very common in kids three to 10-years-old, and are almost always easy to stop.

Below are some things parents can do to help their child with a nosebleed:

  • Have your child sit down on a chair or on your lap.
  • Gently pinch the soft part of the nose (just below the bony ridge) with a tissue or clean washcloth, while tilting their head slightly forward.
  • Do not have your child lean back. This may cause blood to flow down the back of the throat, lead to gagging, coughing, or vomiting.
  • Ask your child to breathe through their mouth and spit out any blood.
  • Continue to pinch the soft part of the nose for about 10 minutes.
  • Have your child relax after the bleeding stops.
  • Discourage nose-blowing, picking, or rubbing, and any rough play.

Nosebleeds are most commonly caused by nose-picking or dry air. A dry climate or heated indoor air irritates and dries out nasal membranes, causing crusts that may itch and then bleed when scratched or picked.

Common colds also can irritate the lining of the nose, repeated nose-blowing may be followed by nosebleeds. Bacterial infections can cause sore, red, and crusted areas inside the nose and in the front of the nostrils. These infections can also lead to bleeding.

Allergies can cause problems, as doctors may prescribe medicine (such as antihistamines or decongestants) to control an itchy, runny, or stuffy nose. The medicine can dry out nasal membranes, leading to nosebleeds.

Injury or any trauma to the nose can cause bleeding, but most aren't a serious problem. Seek medical care right away if your child has a facial injury that causes a bloody nose and you can't stop the bleeding after 30 minutes, or have other concerns about the injury.

While nosebleeds are rarely serious, there might be a problem if they happen a lot. Consult with your child’s pediatrician if your child gets nosebleeds more than once a week. For bleeding not due to a sinus infection, allergies, or irritated blood vessels, a doctor may order tests to find the cause.

“Though it may seem like a lot of blood, nosebleeds in children are common and rarely serious,” says PIH Health Pediatrician, Seema Latif MD. “Understanding how to slow and stop a nosebleed is a useful skill for any parent. Remember to stay calm and reassure your child as you follow the steps to slow and stop the bleeding.”

The information in Healthy Living Online is for educational purposes only.  It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice.  The reader should always consult his or her healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation, or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan.