Babysitting: Dealing With Cuts

Many kids get cuts from a bite caused by another child or an animal, falling down, or using sharp objects like scissors. Minor cuts can be treated at home but more severe cuts need medical attention.

Possible signs of a minor cut are:

  • The cut is small and shallow.
  • The cut stops bleeding.

Possible signs of a severe cut are:

  • deep and wide
  • continuous bleeding, even after applying pressure to the wound with a cloth or bandage

What to Do

For a minor cut:

  • Rinse the cut with warm water and a mild soap.
  • Apply an antibacterial ointment if available.
  • Cover the cut with a clean bandage.

For a more severe cut:

  • Raise the injured body part to slow down bleeding.
  • Rinse the cut with water and apply pressure with a clean bandage or cloth.
  • If blood soaks through the first bandage or cloth, place another cloth or bandage over the first and keep applying pressure.
  • If the cut is bleeding so much that bandages are becoming soaked with blood, call 911 immediately. After calling 911, contact the child's parents.

To help prevent cuts:

  • Keep children from playing around table corners, sharp objects, or doors that slam shut.
  • Don't let kids play outside barefoot.
  • Stop children from playing with sharp objects.

Reviewed by: Kate M. Cronan, MD
Date reviewed: October 2010

Kids Health

Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.

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