Splinter Removal (Child)

Your child had a splinter removed. This is a very thin piece of material that is stuck deep in the skin. Sometimes after a splinter is removed, a small piece may still be in the body. This will likely cause no problem.

In most cases, the wound left by the splinter closes on its own. In some cases, surgical tape may be used to close the wound. A deeper cut may be closed with stitches (sutures).

Home care

  • To relieve pain, give your child medicine as advised by your child's healthcare provider. Don’t give your child aspirin unless told to do so. Don’t give your child any other medicine without first asking the provider.

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

  • Wash your hands with soap and clean, running water before and after caring for the wound. This helps prevent infection.

  • Leave the original bandage in place for 24 hours. Replace it if it becomes wet or dirty. After 24 hours, change it once a day or as directed.

  • Clean the wound daily. First remove the bandage. Then wash the area gently with soap and clean water, or as directed. Use a wet cotton swab to loosen and remove any blood or crust that forms. After cleaning, apply a thin layer of antibiotic ointment if advised. Then put on a new bandage.

    • Caring for surgical tape. Keep the area dry. If it gets wet, blot it dry with a clean towel. Surgical tape usually falls off within 7 to 10 days. If it has not 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 tape until it is removed.

    • Caring for stitches. Clean the wound daily. First remove the bandage. Then wash the area gently with soap and water, or as directed. Use a wet cotton swab to loosen and remove any blood or crust that forms. After cleaning, apply a thin layer of antibiotic ointment if advised. Then put on a new bandage.

  • Check your child’s wound daily for signs of infection. These include redness, warmth, and fluid leaking from the wound. Be aware that an infection can occur even with correct care.

  • 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 wound in water. Have your child shower or take sponge baths instead of tub baths. Don’t let your child go swimming.

Follow-up care

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

When to seek medical advice

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

  • Your child has a fever of 100.4°F (38°C) or higher, or as directed by the healthcare provide.

  • Signs of infection, such as warmth, redness, swelling, or fluid leaking from the wound.

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

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