From the moment your child takes his first steps, he’s bound to have some tumbles. While you can’t always prevent your natural-born daredevil from getting hurt, there’s plenty you can do to make him feel better. We asked top doctors to share the best methods for patching up wounds, stocking a first-aid kit, and calming little patients — so you can fix any boo-boo fast!
Cut or Scrape
If there’s bleeding, first press firmly over the site with a clean cloth until it stops, anywhere from three to 15 minutes. Clean under lukewarm running water and gently pat dry. When a wound is dirty or was caused by an animal scratch, rinse it with water and gently lather with soap. If the skin is broken, apply a thin layer of an over-the-counter antibiotic ointment (like Neosporin or Bacitracin), then cover with a bandage or gauze and adhesive tape. If you can’t control the bleeding after several attempts with direct pressure, call your pediatrician or 911, or head to an E.R. If a large piece of skin has been removed, wrap it in a clean, moist cloth and place it in a bag over ice — a doctor may be able to reattach it. An animal bite that has caused a deep cut should be seen by a doctor.
Immediately hold under cool running water or apply a cold, wet towel until the pain subsides. Cover any small blisters with a loose bandage or gauze and tape; call a doctor as soon as possible if burns are on the face, hands, or genitals, or if they’re larger than 1/4 inch anywhere on the body. If the burn looks deep — the skin may be white or brown and dry — go to the E.R. For a burn covering a tenth of the body or more, don’t use cold compresses; call 911 and cover the child with a clean sheet or a blanket to prevent hypothermia until help arrives.
Have your child sit upright, but don’t tilt her head back. Loosen any tight clothing around her neck. Pinch the lower end of her nose close to the nostrils and have her lean forward while you apply pressure continuously for five to ten minutes. Don’t release and check the nose; it could prolong the bleeding
Splinter or Glass
Use soap and water to wash around the splinter. Clean a pair of tweezers with rubbing alcohol and slowly pull the splinter out. Wash the skin again. When a splinter is hard to remove, leave it for a day or so to see whether it comes out on its own. If your child steps on a piece of glass, and it’s not a single shard you can easily remove, gently wrap a clean cloth around the area and go to the E.R. Ask your doctor about an X-ray even if you think you’ve gotten the glass out; scans often find shards that can lead to infection.
When your child has severe pain, constant tearing, light sensitivity, or blurry vision after being poked or hit in the eye, hold a cool, wet cloth over the area and head to the E.R. He may have a scratch on the eye’s surface, which is treated with prescription drops or ointment and usually heals within 48 hours. If a chemical has been splashed in his eye, hold the lid open and flush with lukewarm water.
Insect Bite or Sting
If the insect left a stinger, gently scrape the skin with your fingernail or a credit card to remove it without breaking it. (Using tweezers can squeeze out more venom.