Let's Heal Your Worries about Minor Cuts

Parents have been asking for my aid - I guess you would call it "First" aid - in helping them know when they need to have their child's cuts seen by a doctor. Let me see if I can bandage any concerns with some information on minor cuts.

Most cuts or scrapes to the skin surface can be handled safely and well at home. The treatment is simple and begins with lots of washing of the cut with soap and water. Water under some pressure, such as through one of those sink hoses, is great to clean debris out of the cut. Once clean, apply pressure to the cut to stop the bleeding using a clean gauze pad or Band-Aid large enough to cover the cut.

When should you worry? If despite the pressure you've applied, blood is soaking through not one but two gauze pads and doesn't stop in at least 15 minutes, or if the edges of the cut are widely separated, the cut seems deep, or continues to ooze and bleed despite the pressure, then seek medical assistance. 

If the cut is on the lip and crosses onto the face, then a doctor should be consulted regarding whether stitches or special adhesives are needed to bring the cut together. If it is due to an animal bite or scratch, talk to your child's doctor to see if antibiotics are warranted. Finally, if you are unsure if your child is up to date on their tetanus immunization, that warrants a call as well.

Of course, the best way to deal with a cut is not let it happen, so make sure your home is safety-proofed. Your pediatrician can help with this activity as well.

Hopefully, tips like this will put you on the cutting edge when it comes to knowing when to worry about your child’s minor cuts.