|Cuts, Scrapes, or Bruises (Skin Injury)|
View First Aid Advice
|When to Call Your Doctor|
|Call 911 Now (your child may need an ambulance) If|
|Call Your Doctor Now (night or day) If|
|Call Your Doctor Within 24 Hours (between 9 am and 4 pm) If|
|Call Your Doctor During Weekday Office Hours If|
|Parent Care at Home If|
|Causes & Health Information|
When Sutures (stitches) are Needed
- Any cut that is split open or gaping needs sutures.
- Cuts longer than ½ inch (12 mm) usually need sutures.
- On the face, cuts longer than ¼ inch (6 mm) usually need to be seen. They usually need closure with sutures or skin glue.
- Any open wound that may need sutures should be seen as soon as possible. Ideally, they should be checked and closed within 6 hours. There is no cutoff, however, for treating open wounds to prevent wound infections.
Cuts Versus Scratches: Helping You Decide
- The skin is 2 mm (about 1/8 inch) thick.
- A cut (laceration) goes through it.
- A scratch or scrape (wide scratch) doesn’t go through the skin.
- Cuts that gape open at rest or with movement need closure to prevent scarring.
- Scrapes and scratches never need closure, no matter how long they are.
- So this distinction is important.
|CARE ADVICE FOR MINOR CUTS, SCRAPES OR BRUISES|
- Cuts, Scratches and Scrapes:
- Use direct pressure to stop any bleeding. Do this for 10 minutes or until the bleeding stops.
- Wash the wound with soap and water for 5 minutes. Try to rinse the cut under running water.
- Caution: Never soak a wound that might need sutures. Reason: It may become more swollen and harder to close.
- Gently scrub out any dirt with a washcloth.
- Cut off any pieces of loose skin using a fine scissors. Clean the scissors first with rubbing alcohol.
- Put an antibiotic ointment on such as Polysporin. No prescription is needed. Then, cover it with a Band-Aid or dressing. Change daily.
- Liquid Skin Bandage for Minor Cuts and Scrapes:
- Liquid skin bandage seals wounds with a plastic coating. It lasts up to 1 week.
- Liquid skin bandage has several benefits compared to other bandages (such as Band-Aid). Liquid bandage only needs to be put on once. It seals the wound and may promote faster healing and lower infection rates. Also, it's water-proof.
- Wash and dry the wound first. Then, put on the liquid. It comes with a brush or swab. It dries in less than a minute.
- You can get this product at a drugstore near you. There are many brands of liquid bandage. No prescription is needed.
- Use a cold pack or ice bag wrapped in a wet cloth. Put it on the bruise once for 20 minutes. This will help to stop the bleeding.
- After 48 hours, use a warm wet wash cloth. Do this for 10 minutes 3 times per day. This helps to reabsorb the blood.
- Pain Medicine:
- To help with the pain, give acetaminophen (such as Tylenol) or ibuprofen. Use as needed. See Dose Table.
- What to Expect:
- Small cuts and scrapes heal up in less than a week.
- Call Your Doctor If:
- Bleeding does not stop after using direct pressure to the cut
- Starts to look infected (pus, redness)
- Doesn't heal by 10 days
- Your child becomes worse
And remember, contact your doctor if your child develops any of the "Call Your Doctor" symptoms.
This free app has a symptom checker,
dosage tables for common medications,
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Disclaimer: This information is not intended be a substitute for professional medical advice. It is provided for educational purposes only. You assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this information.
Author and Senior Reviewer: Barton D. Schmitt, M.D.
Last Reviewed: 9/1/2012
Last Revised: 1/14/2013
Content Set: Child Symptom Checker
Copyright 1994-2012 Barton D. Schmitt, M.D.