Perhaps one of the scariest things a parent sees in his or her child is that first nosebleed.
But to Kenny Chan, director of Clinical Services for the Department of Otolaryngology at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, nosebleeds are a common mishap that can't really be avoided in children ages 3 to 12.
"Children have a very fragile capillary system in their noses, and it's easily traumatized when they blow their noses hard or get bumped in the nose," Chan says.
Dry heat during the cooler months can also be a contributing factor, he says. "When the furnace goes on, the child may not be used to the low-humidity environment. We see a lot of nosebleeds at this time."
According to Chan, most nosebleeds stop on their own, but parents may want to try the following procedure to ease their own minds. Parents should have the child blow his nose gently to clear it of blood. Then, using a watch to track time, they should pinch the soft part of the child's nose for five minutes.
Stubborn nosebleeds can require medical attention, Chan points out, but even those requiring cauterization under a local anesthetic are little concern for alarm. Eventually children outgrow even the most pesky nosebleeds, says the Pittsburgh specialist.