Health Library

Health Library

Small Cuts and Scrapes

Small cuts and scrapes are often viewed as part of childhood and growing up. Most cuts and scrapes are minor injuries that can be treated at home. The skin opening may bleed or drain a small amount of fluid.

First aid for cuts and scrapes:

  • Calm your child and let him or her know you can help.

  • Apply pressure with a clean cloth or bandage for several minutes to stop bleeding.

  • Wash your hands thoroughly.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Check the area each day and keep it clean and dry.

  • Avoid blowing on the abrasion, as this can cause germs to grow.

When should I call my child's doctor?

Specific treatment for cuts and scrapes that require more than minor treatment at home will be determined by your child's doctor. In general, call your child's doctor for cuts and scrapes that are:

  • Bleeding heavily and do not stop bleeding after five to 10 minutes of direct pressure; If the bleeding is profuse, hold pressure for five 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 doctor if:

  • Your child has not had a tetanus vaccination 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.

Small Cuts and Scrapes - WellSpan Health

Online Medical Reviewer: Kolbus, Karin, RN, DNP, COHN-S
Online Medical Reviewer: newMentor board-certified, academically affiliated clinician
© 2014 WellSpan Health. All Rights Reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.

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