Laceration of an Arm or Leg, Skin Glue (Child)

A laceration is a cut. Your child has a cut on their arm or leg. Your child’s cut was closed with skin glue. In some cases, a lower layer of skin may be stitched before skin glue is put on. The skin glue closes the cut within a few minutes. It also provides a water-resistant cover. No bandage is needed. Skin glue peels off on its own within 5 to 10 days. Most skin wounds heal within 10 days.

Your child may also need a tetanus shot. This is given if your child is not up-to-date on this shot, and the object that caused the cut may lead to tetanus.

Home care

Your child’s healthcare provider may prescribe an oral antibiotic. This is to help prevent infection. Follow all instructions for giving this medicine to your child. Make sure your child takes the medicine every day until it's gone, even if your child feels better. You should not have any left over.

If your child has pain, you can give them pain medicine as advised by your child’s healthcare provider. Don't give your child aspirin. It can cause rare but very serious problems in children 15 years of age and younger. Don’t give your child any other medicine without first asking the healthcare provider.

General care

  • Follow the healthcare provider’s instructions on how to care for the cut.

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

  • Have your child avoid activities that may reopen or reinjure the wound.

  • Don’t put liquid, ointment, or cream on the wound while the glue is in place. 

  • Make sure your child doesn't scratch, rub, or pick at the area. A baby may need to wear scratch mittens.

  • Don't soak the cut in water for 7 to10 days. Have your child shower or take sponge baths instead of tub baths. Don’t let your child go swimming.

  • If the area gets wet, gently pat it dry with a clean cloth.

  • Watch for the signs of infection listed below. Most skin wounds heal without problems. But an infection sometimes occurs even with correct treatment.

Follow-up care

Follow up with your child’s healthcare provider, or as advised. The glue should peel off within 5 to 10 days. If it hasn't fallen off after 10 days, you can take it off yourself. Put mineral oil or petroleum jelly on a cotton ball and gently rub the glue until it's removed.

Special note to parents

Healthcare providers are trained to see injuries such as this in young children as a sign of possible abuse. You may be asked questions about how your child was injured. Healthcare providers are required by law to ask you these questions. This is done to protect your child. Please try to be patient.

When to seek medical advice

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

  • Wound bleeding not controlled by direct pressure

  • Signs of infection occur. These include wound redness or swelling that gets worse, or pus or bad odor coming from the wound.

  • Pain gets worse. Babies may show pain as crying or fussing that can’t be soothed.

  • Fever of 100.4°F (38ºC) or higher or as directed by the healthcare provider

  • Chills

  • Wound edges reopen

  • Wound changes colors

  • Numbness around the wound 

  • Decreased movement around the injured area

  • Lots of itching

  • Skin blistering

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