It is extremely difficult for a curious and active child to avoid some scrapes and cuts.

What's the best way to treat a small cut or scrape?

Usually, the bleeding stops on applying direct pressure over the site with clean gauze or cloth for five or ten minutes. Avoid interrupting the pressure too early. 

Once the bleeding stops: Gently wash the wound for five minutes with soap and water. Cleaning the wound lowers the chance of infection.

After cleaning: Apply a small amount of antibacterial ointment to keep the wound moist and cover it with dry gauze or bandage until it heals.

How to know whether my child needs stitches?


Here are some guidelines to help you understand if your child needs stitches:

  • Cuts that go all the way through the skin may need stitches.
  • Any cut that is wide open with visible dark red muscle or yellowish fat might need to be closed, despite being small.
  • Any cut that is wide and is more than half an inch long should probably be closed. Cuts smaller than this may not need closure unless they are gaping.
  • If your child has a cut which is deep, wide or in a cosmetically sensitive area, talk to your paediatrician to know if stitches are required.

In case of serious wounds, you can take the following actions until emergency responders arrive:

  • Apply pressure with hands: Check out the wound to determine where the bleeding is coming from and apply firm, steady pressure to the site with both hands.
  • Apply dressing and pressure: Check out the entire wound to find exactly from where the bleeding is coming from and replace hand pressure with firm, steady pressure, to the bleeding site with bandages or clothing.

How soon after an injury, do I need to take my child to a doctor for stitches?

Most cuts usually get closed within 24 hours after the injury. Some cuts should be closed earlier, but it is safe to wait for at least 8 hours to have a cut closed.


  1. Cuts, Scrapes & Scar Management: Parent FAQs[Internet].Available at: Accessed on Feb 26, 2020.