Ice for a toddler's injury

Q: Do toddlers respond to ice treatment after an injury the same way adults do? It’s nearly impossible to apply ice to a bump on a 2-year-old child, but is it worth trying?

A: Ice can be very helpful in treating a variety of toddler injuries, but its use may require some creativity on your part. Wrapping an ice bag or pack in a wash cloth or Ace bandage can also be helpful, but you’ll have to be careful to avoid frost bite with children. 

Unlike adults, toddlers can only endure ice at short intervals. Typically, setting an icing schedule of 10 minutes on, then 10 minutes off is appropriate. Mouth injuries are more easily treated with popsicles and ice cubes that a child can suck on to minimize swelling.

The good news is many toddlers don’t need as much ice treatment as an older child or adult would need, due to much smaller forces generally being involved. And, it’s generally helpful to remember pain control with many of these injuries, so the use of acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Motrin/Advil) can also be useful.