Getting Into Scrapes

One of the most difficult parts of being a parent is having to be the first in the line of medical defense for your children.  There’s no getting around the issue--kids are going to get hurt from time to time.  You simply can’t drop everything and rush to a doctor’s office every time there’s any sort of minor cut or scrape that arises on your child.  That’s why it’s important to be well versed in some basic first aid steps (and to keep a first aid kit somewhere easily accessible).  Here are the steps for dealing with slight cuts, abrasions, or scrapes that your child may show up with:

Sanitize Yourself -- Always thoroughly wash your hands before treating an open wound. 

Stop the Bleeding -- Apply steady pressure to the wound to stave off any continuous blood flow. If the wound “spurts” blood or resists clotting, contact a physician immediately.

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Clean It Up -- Rinse out the affected area with clean, moving water to clear any grime away from the broken skin. For small breaks, harsher chemicals such as hydrogen peroxide can actually irritate the affected area and disrupt the healing process in a way that can cause scarring.

Cover Yourself -- Once the bleeding is stopped and the cut is clean, it’s time to bandage up.  Make sure you have a strong enough bandage for the severity of the wound.  For some nastier scratches or lacerations, you may wish to apply an antibiotic ointment or petroleum jelly in order to aid the healing process.

Keep An Eye On It -- Watch the affected area closely.  Pay attention for any swelling, redness, or soreness around the abrasion, as these may be a sign of infection.  Change the bandage out regularly (usually about once every day), and keep the site cleaned.   Most minor cuts and scrapes are going to turn into scab, which should be left alone (no matter how irritating they are) while they heal. 

Know When To See the Doc -- If the wound is healing up improperly, seems to be infected, or is causing pain, contact a doctor about the situation.  Some seemingly minor issues can actually be long-reaching problems.  If you have any sort of facial laceration, or if the wound is too deep (over a quarter inch may be a concern) or was caused by something dirty or potentially seriously infectious (e.g., a rusty rake or an animal’s bite), contact a physician immediately. 

As always, it will just come down to your best judgement as to whether you should treat your child’s wound yourself or rush them to a doctor’s office, but with these steps you can at least be ready to jump in for some of the smaller stuff.  Remind your kids to be careful when they’re out having a good time--but let them know that you’ve got them covered if anything comes up. 

The Children’s Clinic is a professional association of pediatricians that have been providing the people of Tennessee with quality care for decades.  Our highly qualified staff offers compassionate, personalized care from birth through the teenage years.  Our office is located at 264 Coatsland Drive in Jackson, TN.  You can reach us by calling 731-423-1500 or via our website.