Diseases & Conditions
Small Cuts and Scrapes
Small cuts and scrapes are often viewed as part of childhood and growing up. Most cuts and scrapes are minor injuries that can be treated at home. The skin opening may bleed or drain a small amount of fluid.
First aid for cuts and scrapes
Recommendations for taking care of cuts and scrapes include the following:
Calm your child and let him or her know you can help.
Apply pressure with a clean cloth or bandage for several minutes to stop bleeding.
Wash your hands thoroughly.
Wash the cut area well with soap and water, but do not scrub the wound. Remove any dirt particles from the area and let the water from the faucet run over it for several minutes. A dirty cut or scrape that is not thoroughly cleaned can cause scarring or infection.
Apply an antiseptic lotion or cream.
Cover the area with an adhesive bandage or gauze pad if the area is on the hands or feet, or if it is likely to drain onto clothing. Change the dressing often.
Check the area each day and keep it clean and dry.
Avoid blowing on the abrasion, as this can cause germs to grow.
When should I call my child's healthcare provider?
Specific treatment for cuts and scrapes that need more than minor treatment at home will be discussed with you by your child's healthcare provider. In general, call your child's provider for cuts and scrapes that are:
Bleeding heavily and do not stop bleeding after 5 to 10 minutes of direct pressure; If the bleeding is profuse, hold pressure for 5 to 10 minutes without stopping to look at the cut. If the cloth becomes soaked with blood, put a new cloth on top of the old one. Do not lift the original cloth.
Deep or longer than 1/2 inch
Located close to the eye
Large cuts on the face
Caused by a puncture wound, or dirty or rusty object
Embedded with debris, such as dirt, stones, or gravel
Ragged or have separated edges
Caused by an animal or human bite
Showing signs of infection, such as increased warmth, redness, swelling, or drainage
Also call your child's healthcare provider if:
Your child has not had a tetanus shot within the past 5 years, or if you are unsure when your child's last tetanus shot was given.
You are concerned about the wound or have any questions.