Keeping Kids Healthy Advice
Most children don’t escape childhood without minor cuts, but every year, one of every four kids receives a cut serious enough to require medical attention. Acting fast after your child is cut is important because a serious injury that is not treated quickly can become infected in a just a few hours, according to the American College of Emergency Physicians.
Minor injuries that do not require a visit to the ER, such as a superficial scrape or cut, should first be washed thoroughly with soap, then treated with an antibiotic ointment and covered with a bandage. The pressure from the bandage will stop the bleeding.
For deeper cuts that are heavily bleeding, first apply firm, direct pressure to the cut with a sterile bandage or clean cloth unless there is something embedded in the cut, such as glass or metal, do not try to remove it. Call 911 or take your child to the ER immediately.
First calm your child and reassure them. For some children, the sight of blood can be frightening. Have your child lay down.
Look at the wound. If it is on your child’s arm or leg, evaluate the bleeding by holding the cut area above your child’s heart, unless you think that your child has a broken bone.
After three to four minutes of direct pressure, check to see if the bleeding has stopped. Don’t peek to see if the bleeding has stopped until after the three to four minutes have passed. If the blood soaks through the bandage or cloth do not remove it. Put another clean bandage or cloth on top of the soaked one. If the bleeding does not stop after five minutes of direct pressure, seek medical attention, but continue to press on the wound.
If the bleeding does stop, clean the wound gently with soap and water or antiseptic wipes. Then apply an antibiotic ointment. This will prevent infection and reduce the risk of scarring. Use a sterile dressing to cover the cut. Change the dressing every day and call your child’s doctor if you see signs of infection, including oozing, swelling, pus, redness or if your child has fever.
Call your doctor or 911 or go to the ER if:
Your child’s bleeding does not stop after approximately five minutes of direct pressure or if the wound begins to bleed again.
Your child was bitten by an animal or a person.
The wound is more than 1½” long, 1/8” deep or is gaping.
The wound has dirt or debris embedded in it that does not rinse out with water.
The injury was caused by a dirty object, such as broken glass on the ground.
The cut is a deep puncture wound.
The area around the wound is numb.
There is a severe wound on your child’s face, neck, head or the palm of his or her hand.
The area appears infected.