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Updated: 1/14/2003 1:29 pm Published: 1/14/2003 1:29 pm


A child's natural curiosity and eagerness may result in scrapes and cuts. Most minor injuries in children are scrapes, in which the outer layers of skin have been scraped off. The only treatment required is cleansing. First, rinse the area; then, wash it with warm water and soap. Antiseptics usually aren't necessary. Apply antibiotic cream to a large scrape, then cover with a sterile dressing, either an adhesive bandage or gauze pad held by adhesive tape. Check it daily and change it at that time, or if it becomes dirty or wet. If you can't clean a wound (WOOND) or you notice drainage, tenderness, or redness, or if the child develops a fever, call a doctor. For more serious wounds, such as cuts or lacerations that go deeper, you should first apply direct pressure with clean gauze or cloth for five minutes, but don't apply direct pressure to broken bones, eye or head injuries, or wounds that contain embedded objects, which you shouldn't try to remove. Call your doctor or go to an emergency room if the laceration is deep or more than a half-inch long. Deep cuts can severely damage underlying nerves and tendons, or they can leave scars. The wound may require stitches. Also, if there's a possibility that there's any foreign matter trapped in the wound, such as dirt or glass, let a doctor examine the child. There are ways to help children avoid injuries. For example, keep potentially dangerous objects, such as knives, glass items, and scissors out of reach. When a child's old enough, teach the proper way these objects should be used.

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