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Kids Running

Cuts / Laceration

Minor cuts and scrapes are a common part of most children’s lives and are generally little cause for concern. Some cuts and abrasions may be more severe than others.  You should call your doctor if the cut is on your child’s face, is larger than a half inch, is jagged or has dirt in it, isn’t healing well, or seems infected.


Usually, it is possible to treat these injuries at home by following a few simple steps:

  • Examine the injury closely, looking for dirt or foreign materials.  If a foreign object has penetrated the body, do not remove it. Instead, apply pressure on the wound to control the bleeding and seek medical care

  • Clean the wound carefully.  First, wash your own hands thoroughly and then flush the wound with lots of cool water. Once you have made sure all dirt and debris are removed, clean the area around the wound with mild soap and water

  • Stop the bleeding by covering the wound with gauze or a clean towel and pressing down gently but firmly with your palm.  If the gauze soaks through, don’t remove it. Simply place another layer of gauze on top.  Maintain the pressure for a few minutes after the bleeding stops

  • Once the bleeding has stopped, apply an antibacterial ointment to the area.  Minor wounds that are in locations that are unlikely to get dirty should be left to heal in the open air.  However, if the wound is likely to get dirty because it’s on the hands or feet, put on a bandage

Call 911 or Seek Immediate Medical Care If:

  • You are unable to stop the bleeding after 10 minutes of direct pressure

  • The wound is deep or the edges of the wound are gaping

  • An object has punctured the skin and is still in the body

  • The cut involves the eye or the cartilage of the nose or ear

We are, unfortunately, not equipped to treat patients with significant injuries that require stitches.  In such cases, it is best to take the child immediately to the emergency room or CHOA Urgent Care Centers.


Minor cuts or lacerations should be cleaned thoroughly with soap and water and kept clean and dry. Keeping it bandaged during the day may be helpful with young children. Deeper lacerations requiring stitches are referred to the emergency room for repair. Minor cuts that seem to be getting worse after 1-2 days with redness, warmth, tenderness or drainage from site need to be seen and treated for possible secondary infection after 1 -2 days.

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