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By Bjarne Lühr Hansen PhD, MD and Philipp Skafte-Holm MD, Mentor Institute

All children have experienced bleeding wounds in the skin caused by stabbing, cutting or from an abrasion. Far the most wounds can be treated at home by parents or other adults.

No matter where the wound is located or how big/deep it is, the adult should proceed as follows:

stop the bleedingclean the wound from dirtdetermine whether the wound can be treated at home or if a doctor needs to be consultedbandage the wounddetermine if the child needs to be vaccinated against tetanuswatch for signs of infection

A wound heals in the course of 8-12 days. The first 1-2 days the body cleans the wound by itself. While this takes place the wound is weeping and mucky. After 3-5 days a crust is formed covering the wound and after 6-8 days the skin grows to cover the wound underneath the crust. Finally, after 8-12 days, the crust falls of and reveals a scar.

If the wound becomes inflamed it is revealed by swelling, warmth, redness and soreness. All four symptoms must be present at the same time. The first days after the accident the wound is mucky and therefore many believe it to be inflamed – but it is not, it is just the body cleaning the wound. Inflammation does not appear sooner than two days after the accident.

Click here to read about how you evaluate your child

What can you do?

If a wound is bleeding it must be stopped. The bleeding is stopped with a firm pressure against the wound with gauze for five minutes. A handkerchief or a kitchen towel will also do. After stopping the bleeding you may carefully look at the wound. If there is dirt in the wound it must be washed with water and soap until it is clean. Finally you put a band-aid on the wound. The wound should avoid contact with water for two days.

Contact the doctor tomorrow

If you experience redness, warmth, soreness and swelling around the wound – this can be signs of infection. If you have any doubts whether the child vaccinated against tetanus.

Contact the doctor immediately

If the bleeding does not stop after firm pressure against it for 5-10 minutes. If the wound cannot be cleaned. If the wound is big enough to need stitches or glue. Size and location of the wound is crucial for determining if the wound needs stiches or glue. A face wound gaping more than 0,5cm should be stitched or glued. Wounds located other places on the body should be looked at by a doctor if it gapes more than 1cm.