Cuts and Lacerations in Kids

First aid for your little one’s wounds. Learn how to care for your kiddo’s cuts and bandage their boo-boos with your friends at KidsStreet!

What is a Laceration?

A laceration is the medical term for a cut. Lacerations occur when an injury causes the skin and underlying tissue to be torn. Most kiddos experience a laceration at some point in their childhood. If your little darling is especially daring, he may rack up a few lacerations!

How Do I Treat My Child’s Laceration at Home?

The good news is most lacerations can be managed with minor treatment at home. You’ll want to stop the bleeding and prevent infection and scarring.

Stop the Bleeding

  • Start by staying calm and reassuring your child that you can help them. They are more likely to be calm when you are calm and confident, especially when they are bleeding.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water, and then inspect the cut.
  • If it is still bleeding, apply pressure with a clean cloth or bandage for five minutes to stop the bleeding. Try to raise the cut area above the level of your child’s heart to slow the bleeding while applying pressure.

Clean the Wound

  • Once the bleeding stops, run the cut under water for several minutes to remove any dirt particles. If your little one is uncomfortable with the running water, have them soak the cut in water for five to ten minutes.
  • Wash the cut area with water and gentle soap. Avoid using hydrogen peroxide, iodine, or rubbing alcohol, as these will increase pain and slow healing.
  • Gently pat the cut area dry with a clean towel.
  • If the cut has straight edges, appears free of dirt or debris, and is less than ½ inch long, you can continue with treatment at home.

Dress the Wound

  • Place a thin layer of antibiotic ointment over the clean cut.
  • Apply a clean bandage to the cut. Make sure it’s tight enough to gently pull the edges of the cut together but not so tight that it causes the area (such as a finger) to turn red, white, or blue.
  • Change the bandage daily or more often if it gets wet or dirty.
  • Keep the cut covered with a bandage until the edges of the cut have healed together.

Reduce Scars

The new skin on a healed cut is more likely to tan, burn, and discolor. Apply sunscreen to the healed cut to minimize scarring when in the sun.

What if the Bleeding Won’t Stop?

If the bleeding does not stop after five minutes of pressure, reapply the clean cloth and hold pressure for another five to ten minutes. If blood is soaking through the cloth, leave it in place and apply another clean cloth on top of the first one while continuing to hold pressure.

If the bleeding does not stop after 15 to 20 minutes of applying pressure, it’s time to get some professional help. Take your child to an urgent care or the emergency room while continuing to hold pressure over the laceration.

Does My Child Need Stitches?

Your kiddo’s cut may need stitches if it:

  • Is longer than ½ inch long
  • Is on their face or a joint
  • Is deep with fatty tissue or bone showing
  • Has jagged, uneven, separated edges

If you think your little one’s cut may need stitches, seek care early. It is recommended that stitches be placed within the first 24 hours of a laceration. KidsStreet Urgent Care Services can help!

How Do I Care for Stitches?

Your child’s provider will give you specific instructions on how to care for stitches. Some stitches dissolve on their own, and others will need follow-up care to be removed. The length of time that stitches remain in place depends on the location of the cut. 

Do not try to remove stitches at home. The provider will want to examine the cut before stitches are removed to verify that the edges are healed enough for removal. They will also look for any signs of infection or complications. 

When Does My Child’s Cut Need Medical Attention?

We recommend seeking medical attention if:

  • The cut meets any of the criteria for stitches noted above.
  • The cut is bleeding heavily, especially if it is spurting blood in a pulsatile manner.
  • The cut is a puncture wound or dirty.
  • A dirty or rusty object causes the cut.
  •  An animal or human bite causes the laceration.
  • There is a large object in the cut. Do not remove a large object from a cut, as heavy bleeding may start once the object is removed.
  • You are not sure of your child’s last tetanus shot.
  • The cut shows signs of infection, such as increased warmth, redness, swelling, or drainage.

Call your child’s provider if you have concerns about the cut healing properly, notice signs of infection, or are unsure of your child’s tetanus vaccination status.

Why Choose KidsStreet urgent Care?

Turn to KidsStreet Urgent Care

Concerned about your kiddo’s cut? KidsStreet Urgent Care is here to help them heal and feel better fast!

Register online to visit the clinic. You and your child can wait in the convenience of your home or vehicle until we are ready to see you. We’ll text you when it’s time to head to the clinic.

KidsStreet loves walk-ins too! However, we recommend registering online before your visit to reduce in-clinic wait times. Walk-ins join the same queue as those who register online.