How to Handle Your Kids’ Cuts and Scrapes

By John C. Munshower, D.O.

scraped-kneeOne of the beautiful things about children is their carefree view of the world. They run, jump and play without thinking twice about it; but that means that they’re going to fall, slip or tumble from time to time. That’s why parents are always reminding kids to slow down and be careful.

The everyday hectic life of a child lends oneself to acquire small cuts and scrapes. If that fall happens on your watch and your child gets cut, it’s important to know how to treat, clean and assess the cut. Here are some tips to make sure you’re prepared for that scenario.

Most cuts and abrasions are minor and will heal with basic cleaning and the application of a Band-Aid.


782778_92324407To clean a minor cut or scrape, use cold water to remove any dirt or debris. You can also use soap to clean your child’s wound, but you don’t need to use strong cleaners such as betadine or alcohol – they may cause an irritation or burning.

The most important part, though, is that the cut gets cleaned. Cleaning the wound is important to prevent the area from being infected, and remember you should wash your hands thoroughly before cleaning your child’s cut.

After you clean your child’s wound, use topical antibiotic medication on the cut, such as Neosporin or triple antibiotic ointments twice a day when you change the bandage. This will help promote wound healing and prevent infection. They can stop wearing a bandage on the cut once a scab forms.

However, your child’s cut may need more than a good cleaning and Band-Aid.

shutterstock_40597624Wounds that are deep, bleed heavily and will not stop easily; cuts that have something embedded in them and cuts that are large and open and that would most likely require stitches may require medical attention.

Your child may also need medical care for a minor cut even if you cleaned it well. Despite a caregiver’s best intentions and adequate care, there is always the chance that a wound will become infected.

Some signs of an infection to look for are a purulent drainage (commonly called pus), fever, redness around the area of the wound or red streaks and warmth of the surrounding skin.

If these things start to happen in the days following a cut, then call your primary care physician or seek medical attention.

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