Mommy I fell!
Treating minor wounds is part of every parent’s job. Know what to do, and when to get help.
A wound is any injury that breaks or remove the skin (such as cuts and abrasions). Most small wounds can be treated successfully at home. The aim of first aid is to promote healing and to minimise the risk of infection.

Minor wounds
  • Most minor wounds stop bleeding on their own. If bleeding continues, apply pressure to the wound with a clean bandage.
  • Hold the wound under running water to remove dirt. Wash the skin around the wound with soap and water, but avoid getting soap in an open wound. Pat the wound dry with sterile gauze and apply antiseptic ointment.
  • In the case of cuts, close the wound with sterile adhesive strips. If strips are not available, cover the wound with clean gauze and adhesive tape. Don’t use cotton wool. Adhesive non-adherent bandages can be used for abrasions that continue to ooze blood.
  • Change the dressings at least once a day and watch for infection – remember that an infection will only be obvious after a day or two.

Major wounds

  • For deeper cuts or severe bleeding, apply direct pressure onto the wound with a clean towel or gauze and follow first aid for severe bleeding.
  • If there is a foreign object in the wound, don’t try to remove it. Apply pressure around the wound. Build padding around the object to the same height as the object and secure it with a bandage.

Get help immediately if:
  • The wound is large or deep and bleeding cannot be controlled after 10 minutes of applying pressure.
  • Your child has lost of lot blood, is drowsy or pale.
  • There is numbness or weakness in the limb beyond the wound.
  • There is something stuck in the wound.
  • Your child can’t move his fingers or toes.
  • Stitches are required.
  • A major wound is on the face or neck.

See a doctor if:

  • There are signs of infection (such as extensive redness and swelling, a general sick feeling, pus from the wound or a temperature above 37.7°C).
  • There’s dirt in the wound and the injured person hasn't had a tetanus injection in the past 10 years.
  • The wound hasn't healed after two weeks. (Minor facial wounds usually take three to five days to heal, wounds on the chest and arms should take between five and nine days, and on the leg wounds, seven to twelve days)

When stitches are required
  • If a wound doesn't close easily, the wound is deep (more than 0.6cm), gaping or jagged-edged, you may need stitches to promote healing, prevent infection and minimise scarring.
  • Stitches are often necessary in small children as they tend to remove dressings, or if the cut is on the face or hands or joints.
  • Stitching should be done within 8 hours.

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