Your child's nose is rich in blood vessels that lie close to the surface of the lining and help to warm the air she inhales. Because of their shallow depth, these vessels are vulnerable to irritation and injury. Some children experience nose bleeds much more frequently than others, but the phenomenon is rarely dangerous, according to the information website AskDrSears.com.
A nighttime bloody nose may seem alarming to you since there may be quite a lot of bleeding if your child doesn't awaken and ask for help to stop it. Some children sleep through nosebleeds and swallow the blood, then vomit or cough it up onto their bedsheets, which can seem scary, but nighttime nosebleeds normally are not a concern if they occur less frequently than once per month, according to pediatrician Dr. Warren Silberstein.
The most common causes of nighttime nose bleeds are dryness and nose picking, according to FamilyDoctor.org. Dry air, often exacerbated by indoor heat in the winter, dries out the nasal lining and may cause irritation. Nose picking also causes irritation and exposes blood vessels. Other causes include colds, allergies, injuries, infections and blood clotting disorders. The lining of the nose also is susceptible to bacterial infections, which may appear as sore, crusty patches near the front of your child's nostrils, according to AskDrSears.com.
While nighttime nosebleeds normally do not require medical attention, you should check with your pediatrician if your child is pale or weak, or if his nosebleeds occur frequently or are difficult to stop, according to Silberstein. If your child has a severe headache along with a nosebleed or if you see evidence of bleeding from other parts of his body, such as bloody gums or blood in his urine or stool, get medical attention immediately, AskDrSears.com warns.
Place a humidifier in your child's room to help counter the effects of dryness and discourage nose picking. You also can moisturize the lining of her nose with a saline mist or gently rub just inside her nostrils with Vaseline or lanolin ointment twice a day. If you see red, sore areas inside the nostrils, apply an over-the-counter antibiotic ointment twice a day, AskDrSears.com recommends.
If your child's nosebleeds recur frequently, his nasal lining may have become chronically irritated, which exposes the blood vessels and causes them to bleed easily, according to FamilyDoctor.org. He may need medical intervention. Your pediatrician may recommend cauterization with a silver nitrate solution or with an electric device. If your child has a nosebleed and you cannot stop the bleeding, your pediatrician or the emergency room doctor may pack his nose with special gauze or an inflatable latex balloon to put pressure on the blood vessels to stop the bleeding.