Maybe your child got cut by a knife, took a really hard fall, or got bitten. Whatever the cause, your child now has a deep cut, and it looks like it might need sutures.
Emergencies can happen with children, so board-certified pediatrician Rainilda Valencia, MD, Micaela Marin-Tucker, PA-C, and Megan Reynolds, C-PNP, with Valencia Pediatrics in Victorville, California, encourage you to learn what to do when your child gets a deep cut that looks like it could need sutures.
Here’s how you can identify when a cut is serious and might need to get sutures, and what to do right away to keep your child safe.
What are sutures?
Sutures, also known as stitches, are used to hold the edges of a wound together. If your child’s cut or gash is deep enough, it won’t be able to close properly on its own.
Instead, sutures do the work and support your child’s skin by putting it back together after a severe cut. Sutures also reduce the chances of your child experiencing infection, excessive bleeding, and scarring in the area of injury.
When might a cut need sutures?
The first step in treating a deep cut or gash is knowing when your child’s cut might need sutures. If your child has a cut, these are some of the things you should look for:
- The cut is longer than a half inch
- The cut looks very deep, even if it’s small
- The cut is wide enough that light pressure won’t pull the edges back together
- The cut shows signs of infection, like redness or pus, or your child develops a fever
- The cut has gravel, glass, or another foreign substance stuck in it
Your child might also need sutures if their cut won’t stop bleeding after 5-10 minutes of direct pressure or keeps soaking through bandages.
What steps should I take if my child might need sutures?
After reading through this list, if your determine your child’s cut is severe enough that it could potentially need sutures, here’s what you should do:
1. Contact Valencia Pediatrics or emergency care
The first thing you should do is get medical advice for your child. Our team at Valencia Pediatrics can offer you immediate advice for the next steps to help your child. If our office is closed, contact emergency care services to get immediate care for your child.
2. Stop or minimize bleeding
If your child’s cut is bleeding, work to stop or reduce the bleeding while waiting for emergency medical care to arrive. Do this by applying a clean bandage or cloth to the cut, and then applying pressure.
3. Clean the wound
If the bleeding is under control, you can carefully clean your child’s wound after you call for emergency care. Start by washing your hands with soap and water, then gently rinse the wound with lukewarm water.
Next, run soap and water through the wound, which will help get it clean. Rinse it again, pat it dry with a clean cloth, and cover it with a bandage.
If there are any foreign objects stuck in your child’s cut, don’t attempt to remove them yourself.
4. Keep your child from eating or drinking
As soon as you’ve determined your child’s cut might need emergency care, prevent them from eating or drinking further before they receive medical attention. This is because they might need pain medication that requires them not to have eaten recently.
5. Give your child pain medication
If your child is in pain, it’s usually okay to give them a dose of acetaminophen or ibuprofen appropriate for their age and weight. Check with our team at Valencia Pediatrics or the emergency care physician if you have any questions or concerns.
If your child needs emergency care for a deep cut, our Valencia Pediatrics team is here to support you and your child through their suture treatment. Give us a call at 442-204-0019 today.