Clavicle (collar bone) fracture in Children Aged 3-10 Years Old

  • Reference Number: HEY1081/2019
  • Departments: Emergency Department, Paediatrics

This advice sheet has been produced to give you information about clavicle fractures in children.  If you have any concerns or require further explanation, please discuss this with a member of the healthcare team caring for your child.

Overview

Your child has been diagnosed as having a fracture (break) in their clavicle.

The injury will initially be painful and your child will not use their arm much but this will improve with time. Pain is caused due to the movement of the bones and the two broken ends rubbing together.

What we will do to help

We will apply a broad arm sling to your child. This will help to keep the arm still which will decrease the pain as well as help with the healing process.

What can I do to help my child?

Simple pain relief medication such as paracetamol and / or ibuprofen may be beneficial (these should be used as per the packet guidance).

What if my child removes the sling?

Some young children can struggle to wear a sling. This is not a problem as they will only be able to move it as much as the pain allows. However, it is important to ensure your child does not get involved in rough play or physical activities.

You can remove the sling for baths and showers as pain allows.

How to wear a sling

Your child should rest the arm in the sling until comfortable (usually for a few days) and  can then take the arm out, start moving it and rest it back into the sling for another week or two.

The broad arm sling can be removed after 2 to 3 weeks (earlier if pain free) and the arm should be left free, encouraging your child to continue to move the elbow.

Your child should avoid any contact sport i.e. football, rugby, hockey, netball etc. for a further 6 weeks. Care should also be taken if riding bikes, scooters or using roller blades etc.

What may happen

There may be some redness or bruising over the fracture; this is nothing to worry about and will fade with time.

A lump (callus – healing bone) will appear at the fracture site as it is healing. This is quite normal and will disappear over a few months after the fracture has healed.

Most children make a full recovery and further X-rays or follow up appointments are not required. If you have any concerns, please contact us, your doctor or NHS 111.

 When to consult a doctor

  • If your child is still in excessive pain after having analgesia (pain relief medication)
  • If your child complains of constant pins and needles in the affected arm.
  • Your child is experiencing shortness of breath.
  • Your child’s skin is breaking down.

Under the General Data Protection Regulation and the Data Protection Act 2018 we are responsible for maintaining the confidentiality of any information we hold about your child. For further information visit the following page: Confidential Information about Youwww.hey.nhs.uk/privacy/data-protection

If you need information about your child’s health and well-being and about your child’s care and treatment in a different format, such as large print, braille or audio, due to disability, impairment or sensory loss, please advise a member of staff and this can be arranged.