How can I tell if my child needs stitches for a cut? – Andrea
Most kids get bruises, scrapes, and cuts
from time to time. Many small
cuts can be treated at home by washing the wound and using a bandage. But it's
important to know when a cut might need medical care or even a few stitches.
Your child may need stitches if a cut:
is still bleeding after you apply pressure for 5 minutes
is gaping or wide
is on your child's face, lips, or neck
has glass or other debris in it
has an object sticking out of it, such as a twig
If a cut is spurting blood, an artery might have been nicked. It's important to
put pressure on the wound with a clean cloth right away. The wound should be checked
at an urgent care clinic or ER
as soon as possible.
These guidelines can help you decide if a cut needs stitches. But doctors in your
local clinic or emergency room are the ones will know for sure.
If Your Child Gets Stitches
A healing cut can get infected, so doctors clean them carefully. At home, help
prevent infection by taking good care of the cut as it heals.
Check the wound every day. Some mild redness around it is normal. But call the
doctor right away if:
There's growing redness, warmth, or swelling around the wound. This could be the
start of an infection.
The stitches have started to come out or the wound is opening up.
A health care provider will take out the stitches later. How long they stay in
depends on the kind of cut and where it is. Sometimes, doctors put small white sticky
tapes (butterfly bandages) over the stitches to give them extra strength. These tapes
loosen in a few days and fall off on their own.
Most cuts, even those fixed by stitches, leave a small scar. That's because when
the deeper layer of the skin is injured, the body uses the protein collagen
to help fill in the cut area. The filled-in area becomes a scar. Over time, some scars
fade or get smaller.