Nose Bleeding in a Child

Nose bleeding, which is also known as epistaxis, is not uncommon in toddlers. This page gives information on causes, treatments and when to be concerned.


What causes a bleeding nose in a child?

The usual causes of a bleeding nose (which is also known as epistaxis) in a child are:

  • trauma - being hit in the nose by a flying object or a fall
  • inflammation - particularly if your child picks his nose
  • blood clotting abnormality - this is less common. There may be a family history of a bleeding disorder

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What do I do when my child's nose bleeds?

Hold the nose firmly in the soft area just above the nostrils. Hold for at least 10 minutes.

Get your child to hold his head slightly forward. If the nose hasn't stopped bleeding in 10 minutes, continue to hold for another 10 minutes. In most cases, that should stop the bleeding.

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What if the bleeding doesn't stop?

See your doctor. Occasionally, we need to use other measures to stop a bleeding nose, like packing the nose or burning the bleeding blood vessel in the nose (we do this gently! with a silver nitrate stick).

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What if my child has frequent nose bleeds?

See your doctor to check there is no bleeding disorder - your child may need a blood test. In many cases, there will be no bleeding disorder but your child may be a nose-picker and this can cause him to have frequent bleeding from the nose.

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What is the treatment for frequent nose bleeds if my child is a nose-picker?

In these cases, treatment with a antibiotic cream, placed just around the nostrils, twice a day for a week should settle the bleeding nose. It is important to also encourage your child to stop picking his nose.

We often try this even if there is not a clear story of nose picking and it is usually very successful.

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When should I be worried about a bleeding disorder?

  • You should see your doctor for blood tests if:
  • your child has bleeding from other places (mouth, urine or bowel)
  • your child has excessive or very easy bruising
  • your child is looking very pale and is unwell
  • your child has prolonged bleeding after minor cuts or operations
  • there is a family history of a bleeding disorder

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Last reviewed 3 June 2011

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Dr Maud MD

Dr Maud MD (MBChB, FRACP, FRCPCH), a specialist pediatrician, provides health information and medical advice for parents of babies and toddlers. Read more about Dr Maud.

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