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First Aid & Emergencies

Babysitting: Dealing With Cuts

Many kids get cuts from a bite caused by another child or an animal, falling down, or using sharp objects like scissors. Minor cuts can be treated at home. More serious cuts need to be checked by a doctor.

Possible signs of a minor cut are:

  • The cut is small and shallow.
  • The cut stops bleeding.

Possible signs of a serious cut are:

  • The cut is deep and wide.
  • The cut keeps on bleeding, even after applying pressure to the wound with a cloth or bandage.

What to Do

For a minor cut:

  • Rinse the cut with warm water and a mild soap.
  • Apply an antibacterial ointment, if available.
  • Cover the cut with a clean bandage.

For a more serious cut:

  • Raise the injured body part to slow down bleeding.
  • Rinse the cut with water and apply pressure with a clean bandage or cloth.
  • If blood soaks through the first bandage or cloth, place another cloth or bandage over the first and keep applying pressure.
  • If the cut is bleeding so much that bandages are becoming soaked with blood, call 911 immediately. After calling 911, contact the child’s parents.

To help prevent cuts:

  • Keep children from playing around table corners, sharp objects, or doors that slam shut.
  • Don’t let kids play outside barefoot.
  • Stop children from playing with sharp objects.
  • Watch kids when they are around animals.

Reviewed by: Kate M. Cronan, MD
Date reviewed: June 2013