Minor scrapes and cuts come with the territory of being a kid and growing up. For most small injuries, it’s fine to care for them at home. Keep in mind that it’s usually normal for cuts and scrapes to bleed or drain a small amount of fluid.
Dr. Villar Andriessen offers these first aid tips for you to care for your child’s cuts and scrapes.
- Calm your child and let him or her know you can help.
- Wash your hands thoroughly before caring for a wound.
- Apply pressure with a clean cloth or bandage for several minutes to stop bleeding.
- Wash the cut area well with soap and water, but do not scrub the wound. Remove any dirt particles from the area and let the water from the faucet run over it for several minutes. A dirty cut or scrape that is not thoroughly cleaned can cause scarring or infection.
- Apply an antiseptic lotion or cream.
- Cover the area with an adhesive bandage or gauze pad if the area is on the hands or feet, or if it is likely to drain onto clothing. Change the dressing often. Wash your hands again after you finish would care.
- Check the area each day and keep it clean and dry. Wash your hands before and after all wound care.
- Avoid blowing on the abrasion, as this can cause germs to grow.
How Do I Know When to Call the Professionals Instead?
In general, call or see your child’s healthcare provider for cuts and scrapes that are:
- Bleeding heavily and do not stop bleeding after 5 to 10 minutes of direct pressure. If the bleeding is profuse, hold pressure for 5 to 10 minutes without stopping to look at the cut. If the cloth becomes soaked with blood, put a new cloth on top of the old one. Do not lift the original cloth.
- Deep or longer than 1/2 inch
- Located close to the eye
- Large cuts on the face
- Caused by a puncture wound, or dirty or rusty object
- Embedded with debris, such as dirt, stones or gravel
- Ragged or have separated edges
- Caused by an animal or human bite
- Excessively painful
- Showing signs of infection, such as increased warmth, redness, swelling or drainage
Also call your child’s healthcare provider if:
- Your child has not had a tetanus shot within the past five years, or if you are unsure when your child’s last tetanus shot was given.
- You are concerned about the wound or have any questions.
Specific treatment for cuts and scrapes that need more than minor treatment at home will be discussed with you by your child’s healthcare provider.
“If your child needs immediate care and can’t go to your primary care physician/pediatrician or an emergency room is not necessary, the After Hours Clinic or Virtual After Hours Clinic may be the best choice for your child,” says Dr. Villar Andriessen.
About Dr. Andriessen
Dr. Emily Villar Andriessen specializes in pediatrics at Children’s Hospital After Hours in Metairie and River Ridge. After earning her medical degree from Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center in Shreveport, LA, Dr. Villar Andriessen completed residency at Children’s Hospital. She then completed a year as Chief Resident in Pediatrics at Children’s Hospital. Dr. Villar Andriessen chose to practice pediatrics because she enjoys working with children and appreciates the importance of the patient-parent/caregiver dynamic. “I enjoy providing education to families about the treatment plan for their children so that they feel comfortable and know what to expect moving forward. I also value giving guidance on prevention if possible, and reassurance to parents on ways they can treat their child’s illness even when it doesn’t require a prescription. I like helping children clinically, but also value helping them to feel comfortable at the Doctor, to promote good healthcare and follow up, as they grow older. I strive to make a positive impact on all of my patients and families by putting myself in their shoes while practicing evidence-based medicine, to ensure their wellbeing.”