SKIN INJURY (BRUISES, CUTS AND SCRAPES)
Cuts, lacerations, gashes and tears
Scrapes, abrasions, scratches and floor burns
Bruises (bleeding into the skin) without an overlying cut or
When Sutures (stitches) are Needed
Any cut that is split open or gaping
probably needs sutures. Cuts longer than ½ inch (1 cm) usually need sutures.
On the face, cuts longer than ¼ inch (6 mm) need sutures. Any open wound
that may need sutures should be checked and closed within 6 hours if possible.
See More Appropriate Topic (instead
of this one) If
WHEN TO CALL YOUR DOCTOR FOR SKIN
Call 911 Now (your child may need an ambulance) If
that can't be stopped
First Aid: Apply direct pressure to the entire wound with
a clean cloth.
Call Your Doctor Now (night or day) If
your child has a serious injury
Bleeding won't stop after 10 minutes of direct pressure
Cut is very deep (e.g. can see bone or tendons)
Skin is split open or gaping and may need stitches
Age < 1 year old
Dirt or grime in the wound is not removed after 15 minutes of
Bicycle-spoke or washing machine wringer injury
Skin loss from bad scrape goes very deep
Skin loss involves > 10% of body surface (Note: the hand's
surface equals 1%)
Cut or scrape looks infected (redness, red streak or pus)
Call Your Doctor Within 24 Hours (between 9am and 4pm)
your child needs to be seen
Several bruises occur without any known injury
Very large bruise follows a minor injury
No tetanus booster in > 10 years (5 years for dirty cuts
at higher risk for tetanus)
Call Your Doctor During Weekday Office Hours If
You have other questions or concerns.
Parent Care at Home If
scrape or bruise and you don't think your child needs to be seen
HOME CARE ADVICE FOR MILD
BRUISES, CUTS AND SCRAPES
- Apply an ice pack for 20 minutes once to stop the bleeding.
- After 48 hours apply a warm wash cloth for 10 minutes 3 times
per day to help reabsorb the blood.
Cuts, Scratches and Scrapes
- Apply direct pressure for 10 minutes to stop any bleeding.
- Wash the wound with soap and water for 5 minutes. (Caution:
never soak a wound that might need sutures, because it may become more swollen
and difficult to close.)
- For any dirt, scrub it gently with a washcloth.
- Cut off any pieces of loose skin using a fine scissors (cleaned
with rubbing alcohol).
- Apply an antibiotic ointment, covered by a Band-Aid or dressing.
Pain Medicine: Give acetaminophen (e.g. Tylenol) or ibuprofen as needed
for pain relief.
Call Your Doctor If:
Looks infected (pus, redness, increasing tenderness)
Doesn't heal within 10 days
Your child becomes worse or develops any of the "Call Your
information is not intended be a substitute for professional medical
advice. It is provided for educational purposes only. You assume full
responsibility for how you choose to use this information.
Pediatric HouseCalls Online. Copyright © 2000-2004
Barton Schmitt, M.D. FAAP
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