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M​y 4-year-old is having frequent nosebleeds. What should I do?

"Some preschoolers may have frequent nosebleeds. It’s usually neither abnormal nor dangerous, but it can be frightening. When blood flows down from the back of the nose into the mouth and throat, your child may swallow a great deal of it, which may cause vomiting,” says Lawrence Fan, M.D., a board-certified Pediatrics specialist at Kelsey-Seybold Clinic. Dr. Fan recommends the following:

  1. Keep your child’s head elevated. Avoid tilting the head backward. This could lead to your child swallowing blood, which may irritate the stomach lining and possibly lead to vomiting.
  2. Next, carefully pinch the sides of your child’s nose, gently squeezing the softer cartilage part of the nose, rather than the hard, boney part. Keep pressure on the cartilage, but not squeezing hard enough to cause pain. Ask your child to breathe through his mouth, while you apply light pressure to help stop the bleeding.
  3. Continue squeezing for about five minutes. That’s how long it typically takes for the bleeding to stop as little blood clots form.

Release the pressure after five minutes and wait, keeping your child quiet. When you do release the nose, do so gradually and slowly to prevent the very elastic cartilage you’ve been squeezing from springing open and disturbing the little clots you’ve just created. If the bleeding hasn’t stopped, repeat this step.

“If the bleeding continues, call your pediatrician. Your doctor may ask you to add other treatments for your child, such as ice packs and other remedies to help stop the bleeding,” says Dr. Fan, who cares for pediatric patients at Kelsey-Seybold’s Fort Bend Medical and Diagnostic Center.

Dr. Lawrence Fan, a Texas Monthly Super Doctor, is currently accepting new patients.​​​​