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Ice or Cold Packs for Children

Ice or Cold Packs for Children

Ice and cold packs can relieve pain, swelling, and inflammation from injuries. Apply ice for 20 minutes out of every hour and repeat 4 or more times in the first 24 to 48 hours. If your child is cooperative, apply the ice frequently. If your child is not cooperative, the struggle to apply the ice may outweigh the benefits of the ice.

Use either a commercial cold pack or one of the following:

  • Ice towel: Wet a small towel with cold water and squeeze it until it is just damp. Fold the towel, place it in a plastic bag, and freeze it for 15 minutes. Remove the towel from the bag and place it on the affected area.
  • Ice pack: Put about 6 ice cubes in a plastic bag. Add enough water to barely cover the ice. Squeeze the air out of the bag and seal it. Wrap the bag in a wet towel and apply to the affected area.

Be careful not to freeze your child's skin, and do not allow your child to fall asleep with the ice on his or her skin.

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer H. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine
Last Revised April 5, 2012

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

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