Cervical Collar (Child)

Children younger than age 8 often have larger heads in relation to their bodies. Their necks are short, and the neck muscles are weak. Sometimes the neck becomes sprained from injuries due to car crashes, contact sports, diving, or other activities. A cervical collar is used to support the neck and allow the injury to heal. It may be used for days, weeks, or months, depending on the severity of the injury.

A cervical collar wraps around the neck and firmly supports the area. The collar will be rigid or soft. The collar should be high cut and support the head upright. However, the chin should be comfortably placed upward, not forced upward. The chin also shouldn't drop down into the collar. The child should be comfortable when wearing a collar. It shouldn't get in the way of breathing and eating.

Home care

The following are general care guidelines:

  • Be sure that the cervical collar is a good fit. Your child should feel supported and comfortable at all times.

  • Help your child to wear the collar as recommended by the healthcare provider.

  • Check your child’s skin regularly for any irritation. Irritation is more likely to occur under the chin, on the shoulders, at the back of the head, or at the base of the neck.

  • Wash the cervical collar cover as needed, per manufacturer’s instructions.

Special notes to parents

It's sometimes hard to find a cervical collar that is a good fit. Talk with your child's healthcare provider if you need help fitting your child for a cervical collar.

When to get medical advice

Call your child's healthcare provider right away if any of these occur:

  • Pain that gets worse

  • Collar doesn’t fit well

  • Skin scrapes (abrasions) due to collar

  • Numbness, tingling, or weakness in any part of the body

© 2000-2022 The StayWell Company, LLC. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.
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