A child’s job is to explore every nook and cranny of his or her world, but that can often lead way to injury. From split lips to skinned knees, scrapes and cuts are rites of passage for our children. As parents you can take all the precautions possible, but “boo-boos” will happen. However, if you understand the basics for treating cuts and scrapes, you and your child can make it through an episode with a minimum of tears.
When a cut or scrape occurs, your pediatrician offers these helpful tips:
- Stop any bleeding. A minor scrape will stop bleeding on its own, but a cut or gash may not. Using a clean washcloth or towel, apply gentle but direct pressure to the wound until the bleeding stops.
- Double up. If the blood soaks through the cloth, place another layer over it and continue to apply pressure. Elevating the injured body part can also help to slow the bleeding.
- Rinse it off. Hold the injured body part under warm running water to wash away any dirt, broken glass, or any other foreign matter.
- Clean it up. If the skin around the cut is dirty, gently wash it with mild soap.
- Break out the bandages. Once the bleeding has stopped and the wound is clean, dab on a thin layer of antibiotic ointment and apply a fresh bandage. Little kids usually enjoy choosing from a selection of cute and colorful bandages—so let your little one choose which one he or she wants.
- Keep it clean. Change the bandage at least once a day, or if it gets dirty. When a scab begins to form, you can remove the bandage, but be sure to teach your child not to pick at it.
If you are unsure how to handle your child’s injury, or if the cut does not stop bleeding, contact your pediatrician for more information.
It is almost impossible for a curious and active child to avoid some scrapes and minor cuts, but there are things you can do to decrease the number your child will have and to minimize their severity. Visit your pediatrician for more information on preventive measures and what to do when an injury occurs.