Treating a Child's Broken Finger

Medically Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on June 12, 2020

Call 911 if:

  • The bone has broken through the skin.
  • The finger is bleeding heavily.
  • The finger is numb, white, or blue.
  • The finger has been amputated or the nail bed is affected.

With the right treatment, broken fingers usually heal well. So it's important to see a doctor right away.

Call Doctor If:

You think your child has broken a finger.

1. Examine the Injury

  • Do not try to straighten the finger.
  • If the bone has broken through the skin, do not touch it. Drape gauze or a clean diaper over the injury, control the bleeding, and get emergency help.

2. Make a Splint

  • Wrap the finger with a soft cloth.
  • Splint the wrapped finger by taping it to an adjacent non-broken finger.
  • Make sure the splint and wrapping aren't cutting off circulation. Watch for signs such as numbness, warmth, or changes in skin color.

3. Reduce Swelling

  • Ice the finger for a few minutes at a time. Wrap ice in a towel or cloth to avoid injuring the skin.
  • If possible, keep your child's hand elevated.

4. Get Help

  • Go to the pediatrician's office or the emergency room.
WebMD Medical Reference


SOURCES: "First Aid Guide." "Children and Broken Bones."

Eisenberg, A. What to Expect: The Toddler Years, Workman, 1996.

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