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First Aid: Cuts
Many kids get a cut from falls or using sharp objects like scissors. Some cuts can be safely treated at home. Large, gaping, and deeper cuts — or any wounds that won't stop bleeding — need medical treatment.
What to Do
If the cut is severe and you can't get your child to a hospital right away or must wait for an ambulance, begin this treatment:
- Rinse the cut or wound with water and apply pressure with sterile gauze, a bandage, or a clean cloth.
- If blood soaks through the bandage, place another bandage over the first and keep applying pressure.
- Raise the injured body part to slow bleeding.
- When bleeding stops, cover the wound with a new, clean bandage.
- Do not apply a tourniquet.
Seek Medical Care
- the cut is deep or its edges are widely separated
- the cut continues to ooze and bleed even after applying pressure
- the injury was caused by an animal or human bite, burn, electrical injury, or puncture wound (e.g., a nail)
Call 911 Right Away
If Your Child:
- has a body part, such as a fingertip, that is cut off. Put the part that was cut off in a sealed plastic bag right away. Dunk the bag in a container with ice water.
- has a cut and the blood is spurting out and difficult to control
- is bleeding so much that bandages are becoming soaked with blood
- Childproof so that infants and toddlers are less likely to fall or become injured on table corners, sharp objects, or doors that may slam shut.
- Be sure your kids wear shoes when playing outside.
- Watch teens when they are cutting with sharp knives.
Reviewed by: Steven Dowshen, MD
Date reviewed: April 2014
- First Aid: Animal Bites
- First Aid: Falls
- First Aid: Skin Infections
- Helping Teens Who Cut
- How Can I Tell if a Cut Needs Stitches?
- Household Safety: Preventing Cuts
- Skin, Hair, and Nails
- Dealing With Cuts
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Note: All information on KidsHealth® is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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