What you should do:
As with every sore or scratch, wash first: Run water over any cut before you try to staunch bleeding. After the wound is clean, hold a 2x2-inch or 4x4-inch sterile gauze dressing over the cut; use direct pressure for about three to four minutes, until it stops bleeding. (If you don’t have gauze, use a clean towel or washcloth.) Cover the laceration with a bandage or a Steri-Strip (tape used for wound closure).
In healthy kids, most nosebleeds are caused by “digital trauma,” aka nose-picking, and they generally look worse than they are. “Parents think that their child is losing too much blood,” says Powell, “but it’s a modest amount as far as blood volume goes.” First, have your child sit down and stop all activity. Seat him upright, with head tilted slightly forward.
Leaning backward can cause gagging or even vomiting from swallowing blood. With your thumb and index finger, pinch the soft part of his nose right below the bone. Keep a firm pinch for at least five minutes, which will stop the bleeding in most cases. If it’s still bleeding, pinch it again for another five to 10 minutes. “This method rarely fails,” says Powell. Forget any advice you heard about ice packs—they’re not of any value for stemming nosebleeds.
Call your pediatrician if…
+ A laceration won’t stop bleeding.
+ The cut appears deep and the edges are separated (stitches may be needed).
+ A nosebleed is not staunched after two 10-minute pinching sessions (cauterizing may be required).