Our First Broken Bone

broken arm
Image via Mindi Stavish

It was a night like any other Monday evening. I was scrambling around in the kitchen preparing dinner. My 2- and 4-year-old were playing in the family room just steps away from the kitchen. At the time, they were playing ghosts and vampires in the baby's pack-and-play. About five minutes earlier, I told them to get out of the pack-and-play because it would break. They just looked at me as if I had two heads and continued on with their adventure. I let it go, as some battles just aren't worth the fight. 

When dinner was finally ready, I called them to the table. The older one climbed out of the pack-and-play without a problem. The 2-year-old, Noah, swung his leg over the side and fell forward, landing face first on the carpet. Typically when he falls, he gets right back up and carries on with his business. This time, he immediately grabbed his wrist and started to scream. Tears rolled down his face, and he turned ghostly white. I ran over to him and picked him up. I looked at his arm and knew at that moment it was either sprained or broken. Midway between his wrist and elbow, his arm was abnormally bent and was starting to swell.  

Shortly after the X-ray, the doctor came in to discuss the injury and plan of treatment. He told me that the break was pretty extensive, but since children's bones heal rapidly, he would not require surgery. 

My husband laid him on the couch and grabbed the first aid kit. He fabricated a splint to stabilize the injury, and then they were off to urgent care. As soon as he drove away, my heart fell to the floor. My poor baby was injured and in pain. I realize that there are far worse injuries than a broken bone, but I still felt horrible. There is nothing easy about watching your child be in pain.  

While at urgent care, my husband sent me text updates. When I received the text that read “2 broken bones, ulnar and radius,” I felt even worse. Thankfully, the doctors and nurses at urgent care quickly and carefully put a soft cast on the break. When my husband and Noah returned home, my sweet boy was very tired from the events and went right to bed. I suspected it would be a long night with little sleep. Surprisingly, he slept straight through the night and did not appear to be in pain.  

The next day, I made an appointment with an orthopedic specialist as soon as the office was open. They squeezed us in in the afternoon since they take pediatric breaks seriously. Much to my surprise, Noah was running and bouncing around all morning, as if he didn't suffer a break less than 12 hours ago. I was relieved he was not in pain, but worried he would land on his arm in the soft cast. When we finally arrived at the office, they removed the soft cast and took another X-ray to confirm the nature of the break.  

Shortly after the X-ray, the doctor came in to discuss the injury and plan of treatment. He told me that the break was pretty extensive, but since children's bones heal rapidly, he would not require surgery. I was relieved. The doctor then put Noah in a long cast (past his elbow). Noah was, shockingly, very cooperative throughout the entire process. He was a completely different child at the doctor's office, and I was amazed he did not cry.  

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Noah quickly adjusted to life with a cast, and it didn't bother him at all. We purchased a pediatric cast-protector sleeve so he could take a bath or shower without getting his cast wet. The cast protector worked great, except the time I completely forgot to put it on and realized it after he was in the tub a good five minutes! (Needless to say, we had to go in the next day for a new cast.)

Three weeks into wearing the cast, Noah returned to the orthopedic doctor for another X-ray and a short cast. The saw they use to remove a cast is ear-piercingly loud and quite intimidating, yet Noah did not cry. Both the doctor and I were shocked that he just sat there during the procedure. I wanted to cry just watching the process!  

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At the six-week mark, the bones in Noah's arm had healed enough for the cast to be taken off. He currently is wearing an arm brace for another week as the bone continues to heal. I am again and again astounded by just how brave my little boy is and how resilient children are.  

Has your child ever experienced a broken bone?  

What do you think?

Our First Broken Bone

Mindi is a working mom with three boys ages 4, 2, and an infant (born June 2013). She spent her first 8 years of her career in Speech-Language Pathology at a Children's Hospital. She currently works with adults and children in home health. The real fun for her happens when she is at home with her boys, chasing them around and pretending to be a super hero. She blogs about life as a working mom at Simply Stavish. Her weekly feature, Words in the Sand, teaches parents how to grow their child's s ... More

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1 comment

  1. Aubrey says:

    My 9yo is 2 weeks out of his cast. King of the mat on a bench is not so good of an idea, he found that out the hard way. Snapped the head of his radius completely off, and since the break had a slight diagonal to it, they knocked him out in a surgery center in case they had to pin or plate it. Both my boys (the older is 12) were remarkable when it happened. I immediately stabilized the break, told the 12yo to get the 2yo ready, finished splinting the break with an icepack on top to keep the swelling down, and from injury to car took maybe 8minutes. They thought I was cool that I made the splint so fast (I’m an EMT) and my older son called grandma and dad on the way to the hospital.


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