Steps to Take When Your Child Cuts Themselves

Steps to Take When Your Child Cuts Themselves

When our babies show up with cuts or scrapes, it can be a devastating experience. No one wants their child to get hurt, but the truth is, children are clumsy, adventurous, and curious. Chances are that at some point in their life, they will run up to you with a little blood running from a wound. If and when this happens to you, here are some steps you can follow.

  1. Wash your hands so as not to unknowingly pass on any germs into the open wound.
  2. Apply direct pressure with a clean cloth and if possible, raise the wound above the level of the heart.
  3. When the bleeding has subsided, check for any debris and carefully use tweezers to remove it.
  4. Wash the wound again with soap and warm water and pat dry.
  5. Apply a bandage over the cut to protect it from bacteria, and to stop the bleeding.

Some things to keep in mind:

  • If your child has a bandage adhesive allergy or has had an allergic reaction to bandage adhesive in the past, you may need to hold direct pressure until the bleeding stops entirely.

    If your child has had a rash from bandage adhesive before, keep in mind that more than 50% of people experience a skin rash after adhesives have been on their skin for a prolonged period of time. Your child may be fine to use a band aid for a short period of time without having an allergic reaction to bandage adhesive. This kind of rash can be treated with an over the counter corticosteroid, such as hydrocortisone 1% cream. A rash is the number one most common allergic reaction to bandage adhesive and is called contact dermatitis. If your child is actually allergic to bandage adhesive, you can use gauze and tape instead. However, keep an eye out for skin irritation from tape also.
  • Do not use rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide and to disinfect the wound and children. Not only does this cause more pain, but it can also slow down the healing process. There are antibacterial ointments available to reduce the risk of infection that will also keep the wound moist.
  • When bandaging, place the bandage so that the edges of the skin are very gently pulled together, but make sure that the bandage does not cut off circulation.
  • If the cut does not stop bleeding after 10 minutes of direct pressure, take your child to the emergency room. The emergency room will also be your best option if something is deeply embedded in the wound or if there is a large piece of foreign material stuck in the skin. Do not attempt to remove it, because this can cause further bleeding.
  • If your child tends to pull off bandages, you can try a liquid bandage. This is a waterproof adhesive that is applied to the skin in order to hold the cut together without having fabric to lift.

You should call the doctor right away if any of the following has occurred:

  1. Your child has had a severe allergic reaction to bandage adhesive.
  2. The wound is more then a minor cut on the face.
  3. The child has been bitten and the skin has been broken.
  4. The skin has been punctured by a dirty object.
  5. Your child may need stitches if:
    • The cut is deep
    • The cut has jagged edges
    • The cut is longer than half an inch
    • The cut is on the face, even if it is shorter than half an inch.

Overall, be careful to protect the wound and keep it clean and moist. These are the most important factors. Also, stay calm. Children tend to imitate their parents’ emotional reactions and if they begin to realize that you are worried or panicked then they will begin to worry and panic themselves, without fully understanding why. This will render them uncooperative. You will probably end up having to take them to the emergency room even it the wound itself can be tended to at home, simply because they will be too hysterical for you to calm down anymore. More than anything, children need to know that you are going to take care of them. They are going to be fine.

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