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Lacerations Without Stitches

What is a laceration?

A laceration is tear or opening in the skin caused by an injury. Lacerations may be small, and need only minor treatment at home, or may be large enough to require emergency medical care.

How do I know if my child's cut needs stitches?

Lacerations that are superficial (do not involve fat or muscle tissue), are not bleeding heavily, less than 1/2 inch long and do not involve the face can usually be managed at home without stitches. The goals of caring for a wound are to stop the bleeding and reduce the chance of scarring and infection in the wound.

First-aid for lacerations that do not need stitches include the following:

When should I call my child's physician?

Specific treatment for lacerations that require more than minor treatment at home will be determined by your child's physician. In general, call your child's physician for lacerations that are:

You should also call your child's physician if your child has not had a tetanus vaccination within the past five years, if you are unsure when your child's last tetanus shot was given, or if you are concerned about the wound and have questions.

Click here to view the
Online Resources of Common Childhood Injuries & Poisonings


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St. Petersburg, FL 33701
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