If you’re a parent, you’ve likely experienced your little one getting a cut or scrape! Because they’re constantly on the move, running, jumping and playing, sustaining small injuries is totally normal for children of any age. However, it’s important to know how to treat a cut or scrape properly. So take a look at some helpful tips you need to know to keep those boo-boos at bay.

At-Home Wound Care 101

If your child’s cut or scrape doesn’t appear to be that deep, you can treat it at home! In order to avoid infection and promote proper healing, it’s essential to make sure you are treating their wound correctly. Pro tip: make sure to keep a kit full of wound care supplies handy so you can be prepared at any moment. Here are the steps you should take when treating any minor cut or scrape.

Step 1: Examine

The first step is to take a look at their wound. Is it a cut? Is it a scrape? Look around the area, and make sure there is not an object in the wound. Next, notice how deep the cut or scrape is, and how much it is bleeding. This will help you know how to proceed.

Step 2: Clean

A clean wound is a healthy wound! Kids love to get messy, so chances are, they hurt themselves while playing in the dirt, grass, paint, or other messy substance. This is why it’s so important to make sure everything is clean before you treat their cut or scrape. Firstly, wash your hands. Then, use cool water to rinse the wound, and then some warm water with mild soap to clean the surrounding area. 

Step 3: Pressure

If your child’s wound is bleeding, you’ll need to apply pressure. Use a gauze pad or bandage, and press firmly directly onto the wound. You may need to do this continuously for a few minutes depending on how much it is bleeding. If it bleeds through the gauze, do not remove it, but instead place another layer on top. Remember, it is not abnormal for it to take a few minutes for the bleeding to stop. If it goes on longer than 10 minutes with constant pressure, though, it’s time to call a medical professional. 

Step 4: Treat

Once the cut or scrape has fully stopped bleeding, apply an antibiotic ointment to protect it. This will help ensure it doesn’t get infected, and will also prevent dirt and other debris from getting in. Then, bandage it up with your little one’s favorite fun bandaid. However, leaving the wound open to the air at night while they sleep can aid in preventing infection.

Step 5: Monitor

You’ve successfully treated your child’s wound! Now, it’s time to keep an eye on it. Over the next few days, make sure you don’t see any signs of infection such as redness or swelling. If you do, be sure to call your pediatrician.

When It’s Serious

Cuts and scrapes are common for kids of any age. However, there are certain scenarios where they need medical attention, rather than trying to treat it at home. Call 911 if your child is bleeding heavily, the wound is extremely deep, the edges of the wound are gaping, the wound is spurting blood, you cannot stop the bleeding even after 10 minutes of direct pressure, if the cut is on their eye, ear, or cartilage of their nose, or if an object punctured the skin and is still in the body. If the cut is on your child’s face, larger than one half inch, has dirt in it, or looks like it may be infected, call your pediatrician to discuss next steps.