Minor Injuries

Scrapes & Abrasions

Wash thoroughly with soap & water. Leave open to the air as much as possible so it will dry and a scab (nature’s bandage) will form.  Generally the only reason to cover such a wound is to keep it clean while a child is outside playing. Acetaminophen or Ibuprofen (see medication dosage section) may be given for pain. A topical antibiotic ointment can be applied as the wound is healing. Call for increasing swelling or redness from the scab or for draining pus.

Cuts & Lacerations

Immediate, direct pressure should be applied for 10 minutes to stop bleeding. If a cut is deep or gaping it may need stitches. If it is shallow or the edges lay side-by-side spontaneously, it may not. Cuts entirely inside the mouth are almost never stitched. If you think a cut may need stitches, call to find out what to do. Do not go to an ER unless you are instructed to do so or there is very vigorous bleeding that will not stop with pressure. Cuts should be dressed with a bandage and some antibiotic ointment such as Neosporin or Bacitracin for several days – thereafter they should be left open to the air and kept dry. If your child is up to date on routine vaccinations a tetanus shot is not necessary.


Flush the area profusely with cold water for 5-10 minutes. NEVER apply any kind of grease or medication. Any burn on the palm or face, or which crosses a joint, or is larger than the size of the child’s palm should be checked by us.  Any burn in which tissues have turned white, gray, black or have extensive blistering should be seen as well. Otherwise, after 8-12 hours the covering can be removed and Acetaminophen or Ibuprofen given for pain.

Bruises & Sprains

Ice & elevation will retard swelling, but may not be worthwhile for the younger child who becomes too upset by these measures. Direct and continuous pressure, such as may be applied by an ace bandage and some padding, also retards swelling. Fractures (broken bones) are usually marked by some combination of exquisite tenderness, bruising, loss of motion, and deformity.  If you suspect a fracture call our office.

Nursemaid’s Elbow

This is a very common injury in children age 6m to 4y usually caused by pulling the hand or forearm, although it can happen in a fall or even a minor bump as well. The child will suddenly stop moving that arm and cry only if you try to move or go near it. There will be no swelling, redness, or other outward signs of trauma. A bone has been dislocated (popped out of its socket) in the elbow and will need to be reduced (popped back in) by a provider. While not serious or an emergency, it is best taken care of within 6-8 hours.