Face Laceration: Skin Glue (Child)

A laceration is a cut through the skin. Your child has a cut on the face that was closed with skin glue. This is used on cuts that have smooth edges and are not infected. 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 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 need a tetanus shot. This is given if your child is not up-to-date on this vaccine.

Home care

Your child’s healthcare provider may prescribe an 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 is gone or you are told to stop, even if the child feels better.

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

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 the wound.

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

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

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

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

  • Explain to your child in an age-appropriate way what you are doing as you care for the wound. Let your child help when possible. For example, let him or her hand you the towel or pat the area dry.

  • Watch for signs of infection listed below. Most skin wounds heal without problems. However, an infection sometimes occurs despite proper treatment.

Follow-up care

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

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 these occur:

  • Wound bleeds more than a small amount or bleeding doesn't stop

  • Wound has signs of infection:

    • Pain in the wound gets worse. Babies may show pain with crying that can't be soothed.

    • Redness or swelling of the wound gets worse

    • Pus or bad odor coming from the wound

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

    • Chills

  • Wound edges reopen

  • A lot of itching

  • Skin blisters

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