These should be treated in the following manner to prevent infection and to ensure prompt healing with minimal scarring.

If there is any possibility that stitches might be required, the child should be brought in for an evaluation right away.  Stitches usually are not placed after 12 to 18 hours have elapsed from the time of injury.

If there is bleeding apply pressure with a gauze sponge or with a clean wash rag. Even severe bleeding can be stopped this way.  Hold pressure until the bleeding stops.  Call 911 or go to the ER if there is arterial bleeding: blood pulsating out of the wound or if the bleeding doesn’t stop in about 10 minutes.  Also, seek medical attention if the wound is over a joint such as the knee.  Wounds that penetrate joints require surgery to repair. If the wound is due to a human or animal bite, seek medical attention.

Wound management:

  1. Clean the area thoroughly with soap and water and cover with an antibiotic ointment such as Neosporin and a clean bandage.
  2. If your child has not had a tetanus shot within five years, he should be brought in during regular office hours.  The tetanus shot can be given anytime within 24 hours of the wound.
  3. A sterile bandage should be applied to the area.
  4. Alcohol, iodine, Mercurochrome are no longer recommended.

If the cut doesn’t heal or shows signs of infection, including redness, swelling, pus, or excessive pain, seek medical attention.

Reviewed 3/16/17 by Dr. Byrum