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Blood is not an uncommon sight for parents of young children, as they are constantly hurting themselves with minor cuts and abrasions through normal play.  Some cuts, however, can be life threatening.  Here are some guidelines for handling everything from the minor to severe.

Proper treatment for small cuts:

  • Rinse the wound thoroughly with water to clean out dirt and debris.
  • Wash the wound with a mild soap and rinse thoroughly.
  • Cover the wound with a sterile adhesive bandage or sterile gauze and tape.
  • Examine the wound daily to ensure it is healing.
  • Apply a new bandage if the old one gets wet.
  • Call your child’s doctor if the wound is red, swollen, unusually tender, warm, or draining pus.

Proper treatment for a large cut:

  • Wash the wound thoroughly with water, both to clean the wound and to get an idea of the size of the laceration.
  • Place a piece of sterile gauze or a clean cloth over the entire wound. If possible, raise the bleeding body part above the level of your child’s heart.
  • Never apply a tourniquet.
  • Apply direct pressure to the wound for 5 minutes.
  • Seek the help of a doctor or emergency medical care to assess the need for stitches or emergency treatment.

Treating nosebleeds in children:

  • Have the child sit up with his or her head tilted slightly forward.
  • Do not have the child lean back as this may cause gagging, coughing, or vomiting.
  • Pinch the soft part of the nose just below the bony part, for at least 10 minutes.
  • Call for emergency care if the bleeding is heavy, or accompanied by dizziness or weakness, or if the nosebleed persists after 20 minutes or is the result of a blow to the head or a fall.
  • Consult a doctor if your child has frequent nosebleeds, may have put something in his or her nose to cause the nosebleed, or has recently started a new medication.

Signs of internal bleeding:

  • Pain and tenderness at the suspected site of the injury
  • Swelling or discoloration
  • Bleeding from the mouth, rectum, vagina, ears, or other orifice.
  • Vomiting or coughing up blood
  • Fainting or signs of going into shock
  • Swelling of the abdomen or abdominal pain.


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