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Safely Treating Your Child’s Cuts & Scrapes

Warm weather and sunshine are finally here, allowing more kids the freedom to play outside in their warm weather clothes. While shorts, short-sleeved shirts and tank tops are a lot more comfortable than sweaters and jeans, they expose little legs, arms, elbows and knees, leaving them susceptible to cuts and scrapes. 

However, minor injuries can be safely treated at home – just follow this trusted advice from Dr. Sasha Avery of WakeMed Physician Practices – Garner Primary Care.

Stock Your Medicine Cabinet
Always stock your medicine cabinet with bandages and an antibiotic ointment such as Neosporin® or Bacitracin. Ensure soap, water and clean towels are always accessible. 

Treating an Injury at Home

  • Stop any bleeding with persistent pressure to the wound. This could take up to 10 minutes.
  • Wash the wound with warm water and soap for about five minutes and carefully remove any dirt or debris that might be in the wound. Alcohol and hydrogen peroxide are not recommended as they can irritate the wound tissues and are quite painful.
  • Blot dry the area around the wound with a clean towel; then apply an antibiotic ointment such as Neosporin.  
  • Cover the wound with a bandage. Check and change the bandage once a day until the wound is healed.
  • For minor pain, administer Tylenol® or Ibuprofen according to the age-related dosage instructions on the package.

When to See a Doctor
If your child’s wound is infected, it is definitely time to see a doctor. Signs of infection include:

  • Redness or streaking around the wound
  • Pus or a foul smell from the wound
  • Significant pain, swelling or warmth around the area
  • Fever

Additionally, if the wound is open and has been exposed to dirt, your child may need a tetanus shot. Call your doctor’s office to schedule an appointment.

If your child’s wound is bleeding profusely, and the bleeding cannot be stopped with pressure or if the wound is deep, head to your nearest emergency department as stitches may be required. The WakeMed Children’s Emergency Department is located at 3000 New Bern Avenue in Raleigh. Continue to hold pressure on an actively bleeding wound until you are seen by a medical professional.

Let Your Kids Play!
Outside play is important to a child’s health and development. Just keep in mind that knowing the appropriate way to handle childhood injuries and having the right supplies on hand will make the spring and summer a lot more enjoyable for your entire family.