Chin Laceration, Stitches or Tape (Child)

A chin laceration is a cut in the skin of the chin. The skin may be cut in a fall, or by a sharp object or fingernail. It can bleed, and cause redness and swelling.

A chin laceration is first treated with pressure to stop any bleeding. The area is then cleaned with soap and warm water. A cut that is not deep can be closed with surgical tape. A deeper cut may need to be closed with small stitches. A skin anesthetic is used before stitching. A skin antibiotic may be put on over stitches . A dressing may be put on over stitches or tapes. Chin stitches are usually removed in 5 days. Or the doctor may choose to use stitches that are absorbed and don't need to be removed Surgical tape peels off on its own over time. Your child may have a scar from the laceration.

Your child may also need a tetanus shot. This is given if the cause of the laceration may cause tetanus, and if your child is not up to date on the tetanus vaccine.

Home care

The healthcare provider may prescribe antibiotics, but this is not routine for a small chin laceration. Antibiotics are to prevent infection. If stitches were used, the antibiotics may be in a cream or ointment to put on the skin. Use the antibiotics as instructed every day until they are gone. Don’t stop giving them to your child if he or she feels better. Don’t give your child aspirin unless you are told to by the healthcare provider.

General care

  • Follow your healthcare provider’s instructions for how to care for the laceration.

  • Wash your hands with soap and water before and after caring for your child. This is to prevent infection.

  • Change bandages or dressings as directed. Replace any bandage that becomes wet or dirty.

  • Don’t soak the laceration in water for 7 to 10 days. If your child is old enough, have him or her take showers instead of baths during this time. Use a clean cloth to gently pat the area dry if it gets wet.

  • If skin tape was used, don’t use lotion or ointment on the laceration. These may cause the tape to peel off.

  • Make sure your child does not scratch, rub, or pick at the area.

Follow-up care

Follow up with your child’s healthcare provider, or as advised.

Special note to parents

If surgical tape was used, ask your healthcare provider if you should remove it or let it fall off on its own. Gently remove any adhesive with mineral oil or petroleum jelly on a cotton ball.

When to seek medical advice

Call your child's healthcare provider right away if any of these occur:

  • Fever of 100.4°F (38°C) or higher, or as directed by your child's healthcare provider

  • Wound reopens or bleeds a lot

  • Pain gets worse

  • Warmth, redness, or swelling of the wound

  • Foul-smelling fluid leaking from the wound 

© 2000-2021 The StayWell Company, LLC. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.
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