Toddlers Do Break Bones

broken arm

Since a similar fracture can occur when a child has been abused, sometimes doctors will be suspicious of this injury. However, a CAST fracture occurs lower in the bone than those associated with child abuse.

A very common fracture in young children is just above the wrist, in the big forearm bone called the radius.

Also, as an isolated incident with no other bony injuries, most doctors recognize it as an accident. However, whenever a doctor sees an injured child they must always at least think of child abuse, or they will miss it when it happens.

One condition that is not actually a fracture, but more of a dislocation or slippage is called “Nursemaid's elbow.” If you pull your child up by the hand or if your child hangs from something with all of his or her weight dangling, he or she can sustain an elbow injury. The child will refuse to use his or her arm. You will see nothing in the way of swelling or deformity. You may not even know what part of the arm is injured.

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Based on the history and the way the child holds his or her arm, most doctors will know what this is. They can manipulate the child's radial head at the elbow back into place in a matter of seconds. Your child may cry, but before he or she really gets started, the radial head is back in place and the pain is gone. 

Most fractures in toddlers will be easy to treat.

A toddler will start to use his arm almost immediately. The doctor will give you a sling which you should try to get your child to use. Once the radial head has moved out of position it is easier to do it again. It is best not to swing young children around by the arms because of this problem. Most fractures in toddlers will be easy to treat. However, any severe trauma can cause damage in children like it does in adults.

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What do you think?

Toddlers Do Break Bones

Tell us what you think!


  1. Cara says:

    Please explain the statement that “toddlers do not sprain ankles or other joints”
    Why would a toddler not get a sprain?

  2. mommy nhoj says:

    Ouch. I hope we won’t encounter any of these. Thanks for the info.

  3. Judy says:

    We took my granddaughter in to the ER today and found out that she has a fracture Left Distal Radius and a fracture Right Distal radius 6 weeks old. She is only 20 months old, and she plays and falls all the time.She never cried or complained about it. But the NP at the ER said that she can not break bones unless it is child abuse… That baby is the most loved baby in the world… But they called in CPS and now we are going through heck.. over this NP not doing any research on this matter…..She is going to the bone specialist in the morning, and we find out what he has to say.

    • Leah says:

      We took my son in to the ER because he wouldn’t move his arm without crying and found out his radial head in his elbow was dislocated. At first doctors said it was fractured and they put a full arm cast on him, called cps, questioned us, and said it was child abuse/neglect. 10 days later we go in for a check up and find out he has a buckle fracture in his ankle. Doctors say they “might see something else” and that “the something else is suspicious for child abuse” so they admitted my son and took both my 3 year old and my 13 month old away. Never had anything prior to this, never even knew he had a fracture. He was walking and climbing around like normal. My son is so much more curious than my daughter was at his age, he could of fell the wrong way or maybe it happened in our bounce house or maybe even at the park on the jungle gym. We have met with a bone specialist and he told us that after reviewing my sons X-rays it appears that his arm “fracture” had no signs of healing so therefore he never had a fracture in his arm and as far as his ankle, it was a buckle fracture and thats ALL that it was. We are also working with a doctor from the CARE center at the same hospital and he won’t stop pushing abuse on us. He is basically saying the bone specialist has a different job and they are just not looking at the same thing.. how does that make any sense? My son is NOT abused and my babies should be home. These doctors are ridiculous when it comes to the welfare of a child and CPS doesn’t try to keep families together, they TORE mine apart and seem to want to make sure it stays that way.

  4. Edith says:

    My lg fell of the chair normally the dog lies between the chair and settee but the one time he wasnt there she fell her arm was red she cried but stopped an fell asleep then woke up screaming we rushee up to a/e the drs asked wat she pulled by the arms I said no as she was only 22 months made me feel guilty it was above her elbow stuck a plaster on it then had to attend fracture clinic

  5. Grace says:

    i had no idea about most of this, mainly because i never broke a bone as a child, early adult life i think i broke my ankles

  6. jesster131 says:

    Then you have me. At 18 months I climbed out of my crib & dropped to the floor no problem. I headed for the stairs to go join the rest of the family on the 1st floor. That didn’t go so well. I fell down the stairs & broke my collar bone in multiple places. The DR in the ER didn’t even want to X-ray it as I was using the arm just fine. When mom insisted they were surprised by the breaks. It all healed well just a little stiffness when it’s cold now. My son is like me a climber.

  7. ale says:

    Thank god my kids havent broken any bones. I would hate to see them in pain.

  8. Anjee says:

    My poor lil boy fell off the bed & broke his wrist, exactly like the greenstick paragraph 🙁 so heartbroken for him!!!!!

  9. I have a friend who is terrified of spiders and of course her 3 year old son was right behind her when she seen one and freaked out, She took a step backward right over him and broke his leg!

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