Care and cleaning of cuts and scratches

Cuts and scrapes in young children are fairly common. If your little one falls down and cuts himself there is no need to panic. Most cuts are superficial and minimally harm the outer layer of skin. When this occurs, a hug, kiss and proper cleanliness of the affected area with soap and water, is the best way to console your toddler.

In some cases, a fall or sharp object might provoke a deeper cut. If this occurs, remember to stay calm. The following tips will help you care for the cut properly while identifying if there is need to contact your doctor or go to the emergency room.

What to do?

• Apply pressure to the affected area to stop the bleeding. Certain body parts are more prone to bleed and require applying pressure for 10 minutes.

• After applying pressure, thoroughly wash the cut with soap and warm water.

• If you consider it necessary, apply an antibiotic cream recommended to you by your doctor to the cut.

• Cover the cut/scratch with an adhesive bandage or gauze if needed.

• If the wound is large or gets dirty, clean it every day, apply ointment and cover with a new bandage/gauze.

• When a scar forms, leave it to heal without cover.

What not to do?

• Don’t use alcohol or hydrogen peroxide on the cut, besides causing pain, it can be damaging to the skin tissue.

• Be sure not to expose the cut in direct sunlight, as this can create a scar.

• Don’t use harsh or scented soap on the wound, instead use a gentle neutral soap.

• Don’t kiss the cut directly to avoid transmitting germs.

• Finally, let the scab fall on its own; picking or trying to eliminate it can leave a scar on the skin.

When to contact the doctor / visit the emergency room?

At the time of the accident:

• If the bleeding doesn’t stop despite applying direct pressure to the affected area for 10 minutes.

• If the cut has some dirt that can’t be cleaned.

• If the skin is split open.

• If the cut is deep or bone or tendons seem exposed.

After caring for the cut:

• If the cut looks infected (for example, if there’s pus).

• If swelling and pain increase after 48 hours.

• If after 10 days, the wound doesn’t heal.

Hopefully there is no need to contact the doctor and the accidents your little one encounters are minimal. Trust your instincts to handle the situation and know how to properly care for your little one.

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