Pediatric Lacerations

Lacerations are common injuries among children, often resulting from active play and accidents. As a parent, it’s crucial to understand what a laceration is and when it requires professional medical attention. At After Hours Kids in Austin, TX, we specialize in treating pediatric lacerations, ensuring your child receives the best care promptly and efficiently.

Our experienced team is dedicated to providing expert medical care for your children, especially during those unexpected moments. Trust us to handle your child’s lacerations with the utmost care and professionalism. Contact us today!

What is a Laceration?

A laceration is a cut or tear in the skin caused by a sharp object or trauma. These injuries can vary in severity from superficial cuts to deep wounds that involve underlying fat, muscle tissue, or other structures. Understanding the nature of lacerations helps in determining the appropriate care for your child.

Types of Lacerations

There are two different types of lacerations.

  1. Superficial Lacerations: These involve only the top layer of the skin and usually require only minor treatment, such as cleaning and an adhesive bandage.
  2. Deep Lacerations: These cuts penetrate deeper, possibly reaching to the fat or muscle tissue. They often require stitches or more extensive treatment.

How to Know if My Child Needs Stitches

Your child’s cut may need stitches if it is:

  • Still bleeding despite applying direct pressure for 5 – 10 minutes
  • Wide or separated edges
  • Caused by a dirty or rusty object
  • Embedded with debris, such as glass, dirt, or gravel
  • Deep, perhaps seeing the yellow fat or red muscle
  • On your child’s face, lips, or neck
  • Spurting blood

If you suspect that your child may need stitches, go to the emergency room. Repairs must be done within 18–24 hours of when the cut happens to heal properly.

When Should I Call My Child's Healthcare Provider?

Contact your child’s healthcare provider immediately if:

  • The wound is bleeding heavily.
  • The wound was caused by a dirty or rusty object, necessitating a tetanus shot.
  • The injury resulted from an animal or human bite, increasing the risk of infection.
  • The cut is very painful.
  • There are signs of infection, such as increased warmth, redness, or swelling.
  • The wound involves fat or muscle tissue, indicating a deeper injury.
  • If they have a puncture wound.
  • You notice any embedded objects that require removal.
  • Cuts near the eye or large cuts require emergency medical care.

How Are Lacerations Treated in Children?

Treatment for pediatric lacerations varies based on the severity of the wound.

First Aid at Home for Small Cuts

When your child gets a small cut, proper first aid can help prevent infection and promote healing. Here’s what you should do:

    1. Clean the Wound: Rinse the wound thoroughly with water to remove dirt and debris. Wash the area with mild soap, then rinse well. For minor wounds, you don’t need to use an antiseptic solution, as some can cause allergic skin reactions.
    2. Cover the Wound: Use a sterile adhesive bandage or sterile gauze with adhesive tape to cover the cut. This helps keep the area clean and protected.
    3. Change the Bandage: If the bandage gets wet, remove it and replace it with a new one. Once a scab forms, a bandage is usually no longer necessary.
    4. Daily Check-Up: Check the wound daily for signs of infection. If it becomes red, swollen, tender, warm, or starts draining pus, call your doctor.

First Aid for Bleeding From a Large or Deep Cut

For more serious cuts or tears, follow these steps to manage bleeding until professional help is available:

    1. Rinse and Assess: Rinse the wound with water to clear away any debris and get a good look at its size.
    2. Apply Pressure: Place a piece of sterile gauze or a clean cloth over the wound. If you have them, wear clean latex or rubber gloves.
    3. Elevate the Area: If possible, raise the bleeding body part above the level of your child’s heart. Avoid using a tourniquet.
    4. Steady Pressure: Using the palm of your hand, apply steady, direct pressure to the wound for at least five minutes. Do not stop to check the wound or remove blood clots during this time.
    5. Add More Gauze if Needed: If blood soaks through the initial gauze, do not remove it. Instead, place another gauze pad on top and continue applying pressure.

Treatment at After Hours Kids

If your child needs more than minor treatment, you can bring them to After Hours Kids for evaluation and treatment. If the cut is linear and less than 2 inches (or 5 cm), dermabond may be the best option for your child.

Generally, our registered nurse will thoroughly clean the wound using saline and an antibacterial skin wash. Once the wound is cleaned, the nurse practitioner will assess the wound. If necessary, the nurse will use dermabond (medical glue) to keep the wound edges together. Dermabond application is a painless procedure that is much faster than getting stitches.

If your child is not up-to-date on the tetanus vaccine, we would strongly recommend getting the vaccine after the wound is closed. We will verify when their last tetanus vaccine (DTap or TDap) was received.

What Should I Expect if My Child Deeds Dermabond to Close a Cut?

Generally, our registered nurse will thoroughly clean the wound using saline and hibiclens. Once the wound is cleaned, the nurse practitioner will assess the wound and use dermabond (medical glue), if necessary, to minimize infection risks and minimize scarring.

Dermabond application is a painless procedure and much faster than getting stitches. Refer to our Dermabond After-Care patient handout for more information.

Visit Us Today

At After Hours Kids, we prioritize your child’s health and recovery. If your child sustains a laceration in Austin, Texas, don’t hesitate to visit our clinic. Our team is equipped to provide immediate and comprehensive care, ensuring your child heals quickly and comfortably. Book your visit online now!