If Your Child Breaks a Bone...Tips from an Orthopedic Nurse

Written by: Jennifer Joy-Rhomberg

Warmer summer days usher in outdoor sports seasons and more outdoor play. They may also usher in more broken bones in children. If your child breaks a bone and it’s a stable fracture, meaning they don’t need surgery or a stay in the hospital right away, the emergency room will likely instruct parents to follow up with an orthopedist. As a certified pediatric nurse at Shriners Hospitals for Children® — Chicago, I wanted to offer some advice on what to know and what to bring to that orthopedic appointment. 

What to know

If your child becomes injured and goes to the emergency room and sustains a stable fracture – a bone fracture which will most likely stay in a functional position as it heals –the ER will usually initially apply a splint and advise the family to follow up with a pediatric orthopedist in two to three days. The Chicago Shriners hospital, in the Galewood neighborhood, sees patients, both established and new, who fracture and go to an emergency room. We are usually able to accommodate getting children in quickly to see a physician. Our patients receive all care and services in a family-centered environment, regardless of the patient’s ability to pay.

What to bring to your orthopedic appointment

-complete medication list or your child’s actual medications

-medical history


-medical notes

-a legal guardian should accompany the child to the visit

At a typical orthopedic visit for a fracture your child will see the orthopedic specialist and receive an initial cast if necessary, and then follow up with the orthopedist during the healing phase. After the fracture is healed and a cast removed, any necessary rehabilitation services are set-up during an outpatient visit. If you choose a Shriners Hospital orthopedist, rehabilitation services are offered in our specialized pediatric rehabilitation facility right in our Chicago hospital.

Shriners Hospital nurses are experts in fracture care and work closely with our skilled radiologists and cast technicians. The team approach is seamless, and a child life specialist is available to assist patients with medical play and distraction should they have anxiety about the cast room or process. Physical and occupational therapy are here for post fracture care. Hospital staff is available around the clock for the parents to speak with should any questions arise.

To make an appointment at Shriners Hospitals for Children Chicago, call (773)385-5437.



Posted on May 29, 2014 at 7:05 PM