First aid: Cuts and Scrapes

What are they?

All children will undergo the childhood initiation of getting cuts and scrapes. These injuries may come in the form of a simple cut, abrasion, or scrape, and sometimes they are more serious. Most of these wounds can be taken care of at home, but occasionally the pediatrician may need to help out.

What are the symptoms?

The cries of a child who sustains one of these injuries can strike fear in the hearts of parents. However, the actual damage due to these wounds is usually much less severe than the shrieks would lead one to believe. When there is a large scrape or abrasion, the oozing of blood can look ominous when really there is very little in actual blood loss.

What can/should be done at home

  • Apply pressure with a clean cloth to stop bleeding.
  • For scrapes, rinse the area with clean water and then wash with soap and water.
  • For cuts, simply rinsing with water is usually enough for adequate cleaning.
  • Cover the area with an antibiotic ointment and then apply a sterile dressing.
  • To get the edges of a cut to meet, apply an adhesive bandage.
  • Do not apply antiseptic liquids such as iodine or alcohol, as these tend to irritate the wound and cause a lot of discomfort for the child.
  • Keep the area clean and dry.
  • Once a scab has formed, a bandage is generally not needed.

When to get immediate attention

  • If bleeding doesn't stop within 10 minutes of applying pressure to the wound
  • If the cut is deep and it looks as if stitches may be required
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