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Treating Scrapes and Cuts

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Kids Health Watch is brought to you by our friends and Children’s Medical Group

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Generally, children love to explore, take risks, and engage in physical play. Unfortunately, this eventually means scrapes and sometimes more severe lacerations or cuts. What to do when the inevitable happens?

Firstly, bleeding usually stops with pressure. Use a clean towel, and try not to change towels frequently, as this can interrupt the clotting process. Secondly, many cuts heal with time. Strictly speaking, intervention is not necessary for a cut to heal. However, intervention can help prevent complications and possible long-term scarring. Keep this in mind when deciding whether or not to contact your pediatrician for possible intervention.

A cut that is longer than a few centimeters, cuts through multiple layers of tissue, or cuts exposing any bone or tendon may require more attention. Your pediatrician can decide on your child’s next best step, such as glue, staples, or stitches.

Medical glue is a very appealing option, especially for younger children. It is painless and quick. This is an option for cuts that appear to be coming back together and for areas of the body that do not have a lot of tension. The glue must adhere to the skin, so places like the scalp are not a good option. The main drawback of glue is that there is not much “tension strength,” so scar formation increases. Medical glue is a specially formulated medical adhesive. Do not use common household glues.

Staples are generally used for areas of the body where scarring is less of a concern, such as the scalp beneath hair. The procedure is relatively quick but provides much support for the cut to heal quickly.

Stitches are the most traditional form of intervention for a cut. They help with the prevention of scars since the edges of the cut are brought back together for the duration of healing. The drawback, especially for children, is that the procedure takes time. Most children will not be cooperative. They will need to be either held in place or, in extreme cases, may need to be sedated for the procedure.

Whatever unexpected injury your child might encounter, your child’s pediatrician is a great first step to help understand what interventions are available and appropriate.

Savannah Browning
Author: Savannah Browning

Dr. Savannah Browning grew up in Fayette, AL. She moved to Mobile to attend Medical School at the University of South Alabama in 2009, and has been a proud Mobilian ever since. She joined Children’s Medical Group in 2016, and her office is at the Airport Boulevard location. She lives in Mobile with her husband, Andrew, and their three children: Jude, Luke, and Annie.

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Dr. Savannah Browning grew up in Fayette, AL. She moved to Mobile to attend Medical School at the University of South Alabama in 2009, and has been a proud Mobilian ever since. She joined Children’s Medical Group in 2016, and her office is at the Airport Boulevard location. She lives in Mobile with her husband, Andrew, and their three children: Jude, Luke, and Annie.
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