When Does My Child Need Stitches?
By Dr. Anne Georgulas
February 15, 2021
Category: Children's Safety
We all know how accident-prone kids can be. They get bruises, bumps, cuts, and scrapes from time and time. Most of the time, these boo-boos are nothing to worry about, but sometimes a cut or laceration may require turning to your pediatrician for stitches. Does your child need stitches? We know it isn’t always easy to tell. Here are some telltale signs that your child might need stitches,
- Apply pressure to the cut for five minutes. If it’s still bleeding after five minutes, it probably needs stitches
- The cut is more than ½-inch deep or longer
- The cut is around their eye
- The cut is on their face or neck and is longer than ¼ inch
- The cut is gaping open
- There is an object sticking out of it, including debris or glass
- The cut is spurting blood
Any cut that spurts blood could be a sign of a nicked artery. Immediately apply pressure to the area and head to your local ER for immediate medical attention.
When should I call the pediatrician?
If in doubt about whether or not your child may need stitches, call your pediatrician. With the introduction of telehealth visits, many pediatricians can now look at images of the injury or wound through a simple online appointment and determine whether the child or teen needs to come in for stitches. While the warning signs above are telltale indicators that your child may need stitches, even if the cut doesn’t need stitches, you should still see the doctor if:
- The cut was made by a rusty or metal object
- There is redness, swelling, pus, or other signs of infection
- The child has been bitten by an animal
- The cut hasn’t healed within 10 days
- There is still severe pain after a few hours
Cuts and wounds made by metal, rusty, or dirty objects may require your child to get a tetanus shot. This is why you should see your pediatrician right away, as it’s important for them to get this shot within 2-3 days after the injury.
If you still aren’t sure whether or not your child should get stitches, it doesn’t hurt to give your pediatrician a call. Let us know the symptoms your child is experiencing, and we can determine if their injury requires a closer look from our team. Call us today; we can deal with your child’s urgent medical matters.