How to Treat a Swollen Lip on Child

Written by pippa jolly
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Children by their very nature are prone to accidents, especially cut knees and “fat” swollen lips. Lips are extremely sensitive and react quickly to hurt or injury. Most swollen lips on children look a lot worse than they actually are, and parents should try to remain calm while giving appropriate treatment. The swelling will go down on its own after a couple of days, but there are a few ways to lessen the inflammation and pain, soothing your child in the process. It is important to note that swollen lips on a child could be a sign of an allergic reaction, so start by determining how your child got the swollen lip.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Ice cubes
  • Antibacterial wipe
  • Ibuprofen/acetaminophen (optional)
  • Tea bag
  • Vaseline

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  1. 1

    One of the first things to do when your child comes to you with a swollen lip is apply ice to the area to stop the swelling. Wrap a few ice cubes in a kitchen towel or face cloth, rather than applying directly. You also can give the child a Popsicle; anything cold in contact with the lip will work. If the child is very young, offer a cold teething ring.

  2. 2

    If the swollen lip is also bleeding, wipe the blood off with a cloth. To avoid infection, use an antibacterial wipe to clean the area.

  3. 3

    If your child appears to be pain from the swollen lip, give him a dose of ibuprofen or acetaminophen for the discomfort.

  4. 4

    Try applying a tea bag to the lip to help reduce the swelling. Soak a tea bag in cold water for a few minutes before placing it on the lip.

  5. 5

    Apply a small amount of vaseline to the lip. As the skin on the lip and surrounding area swells, it can become tight and sore. Vaseline can help moisturise the area and make it be less painful.

  6. 6

    If the swollen lip was not caused by trauma and is accompanied by redness and itching, then it probably is an allergic reaction. Give the child an antihistamine like Benadryl and call your paediatrician for advice. If the swelling is due to sores, the child probably has a viral infection and should be seen by the paediatrician.

Tips and warnings

  • Having a swollen lip can make it difficult to eat, so try puréeing food until the swelling has subsided.
  • Try having your child drink through a straw; this will be much more comfortable and there will be no contact with the sore lip.
  • If the bleeding does not seem to be stopping and the cut looks quite deep, then stitches might be required. Call your paediatrician.
  • Always check inside the child’s mouth to make sure there are no loose, chipped or missing teeth.
  • If your child's lip was injured in a fall, be aware of the possibility of concussion. If you suspect a concussion, call your paediatrician.

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