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Treat Your Child's Cuts and Scrapes

Treating a child's Cuts is a bonding experience. Anytime we can relieve our child's pain, we feel good as parents. Use this first-aid time together to show your child that you love her/him, and that you will successfully nurse her wound back to health. And remember, kisses really do help the healing process.


1. Provide love and comfort. When your child comes in crying with rivulets of blood dripping from her/his knee, don't overreact. Be calm, and reassure your child that you are there to "nurse" her wound back to optimum health.
2. Have your child sit down. A wiggly child is difficult to treat
3. Talk to the child as you prepare to treat her/his injury. Explain what you are doing.
4. Wash the wound with a warm, soft, soapy washcloth. Also wash the area surrounding the wound; this will keep germs that are outside the wound, on the surrounding skin, from spreading back into the wound.
5. Examine the wound, once it is clean. If the cut is deep or the bleeding is excessive, check with your pediatrician about the need for stitches.
6. Check for debris that may have lodged in the wound. Gravel is common when a child falls on the pavement and scrapes her/his knees. Remove any bits of debris you might see.
7. Wipe the wound with betadine, once it has stopped bleeding. Use a betadine swab, betadine pad, or moisten a gauze dressing with betadine.
8. Apply a small dab of antibiotic ointment.
9. Cover with a Band-Aid, in most cases. Larger wounds will need a 4-by-4 dressing pad and dressing tape. Consider using non-stick dressings.


  • It's not necessary to apply antibiotic ointment immediately following an injury. Infection is not an issue until two or three days later. Some wounds that continue to weep blood should not be dabbed with ointment, because the blood will wash the ointment away. Elevate the part to stem the bleeding, and apply ointment the following day.
  • Keep a stash of assorted sizes of pediatric Band-Aids in your medicine cabinet at all times. Band-Aids that have Scooby-Doo or Barney are fun for kids, especially after they have been injured.
  • Alcohol is no longer used to wash wounds. It has been found to be irritating to injured tissue. The wound cleaner of choice in hospitals is betadine


  • If your wound is very dirty or was caused by an animal bite, and it's been more than 5 years since your last tetanus shot, you should get a booster.
  • If symptoms persist or if you have specific medical conditions or concerns, we recommend you contact a physician. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment.

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