Cuts, scrapes, and bruises

Cuts, Scrapes, and Bruises- When to Call the Doctor!

Cuts, scrapes, and bruises are a common occurrence, especially in children. Whether they are playing sports, at the playground, riding bikes, or going to school, these unfortunate accidents can cause a lot of pain and stress for children of all ages. Sometimes it can be hard to know if it is just a cut, or if it needs to be treated by a Pediatrician. Here are some of the common types of skin injuries along with the information you need to make the right call when accidents arise.

Types of Skin Injuries

  • Cuts, lacerations, gashes and tears. These are wounds that go through the skin to the fat tissue. Caused by a sharp object.
  • Scrapes, abrasions, scratches and floor burns. These are surface wounds that don’t go all the way through the skin. Scrapes are common on the knees, elbows and palms.
  • Bruises. These are bleeding into the skin from damaged blood vessels. Caused by a blunt object. They can occur without a cut or scrape.

For Minor Cuts, Scrapes, and Bruises

  1. Cuts, Scratches and Scrapes – Treatment:
    • Use direct pressure to stop any bleeding. Do this for 10 minutes or until the bleeding stops.
    • Wash the wound with soap and water for 5 minutes. Try to rinse the cut under running water.
    • Caution: Never soak a wound that might need sutures. It may become more swollen and harder to close.
    • Gently scrub out any dirt with a washcloth.
    • Cut off any pieces of loose skin using fine scissors. Clean the scissors first with rubbing alcohol.
    • Use an antibiotic ointment such as Polysporin. No prescription is needed. Then, cover it with a bandage such as Band-Aid. Change daily.
  2. Liquid Skin Bandage for Minor Cuts and Scrapes:  Liquid skin bandage seals wounds with a plastic coating. It lasts up to 1 week. Liquid skin bandage has several benefits compared to other bandages such as Band-Aids. Liquid bandage only needs to be put on once. It seals the wound and may promote faster healing and lower infection rates. Also, it’s water-proof. Wash and dry the wound first, then put on the liquid. It comes with a brush or swab and dries in less than a minute. There are many brands of liquid bandage available and no prescription is needed.
  3. Bruises – Treatment:
    • Use a cold pack or ice bag wrapped in a wet cloth. Put it on the bruise once for 20 minutes. This will help to stop the bleeding.
    • After 48 hours, use a warm wet washcloth. Do this for 10 minutes 3 times per day. This helps to reabsorb the blood.
  4. Pain Medicine:  To help with the pain, give Tylenol or Ibuprofen as needed.

You should call The Pediatric Center now or Go to The ER if your child has any of the following:

  • Skin that is split open or gaping
  • Cuts on the face longer than 1/4 inch – these usually need closure with sutures or skin glue
  • Any open wound that you suspect may need sutures should be seen as possible. Ideally, they should be checked and closed within 6 hours to prevent wound infections.
  • Severe pain that has not improved 2 hours after taking pain medicine
  • Child that is injured is under 1 year of age
  • Dirt in the wound that is not gone after 15 minutes of scrubbing
  • Skin loss from a bad scrape that goes very deep
  • Bad scrape covers large area
  • Cut or scrape looks infected with spreading redness or red streaks
  • Bleeding does not stop after using direct pressure to the cut
  • You think your child has a serious injury and needs to be seen

If your child has a very large bruise after a minor injury, or bruising without any known injury, please call The Pediatric Center within 24 hours. Make sure that your child’s tetanus shot is active and does not need a booster. A tetanus shot is needed if your child sustains a dirty cut and hasn’t had a tetanus shot in over 5 years, or if he/she has a clean cut and hasn’t had a tetanus shot in over 10  years. It is safe to get the booster within 3 days or less of the injury. If the cut doesn’t heal in 10 days, it starts to look infected, or becomes worse, contact The Pediatric Center. Our board certified physicians are dedicated to the health and well-being of your child and provide the highest medical care to our patients.



Disclaimer: This information is not intended be a substitute for professional medical advice. It is provided for educational purposes only. You assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this information.