Cuts Closed With Staples in Children: Care Instructions

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Your Care Instructions

A cut can happen anywhere on your child's body.

The doctor used staples to close the cut. Staples easily and quickly close a cut, which helps the cut heal.

Sometimes a cut can injure tendons, blood vessels, or nerves. If the cut went deep and through the skin, the doctor may have put in a layer of stitches below the staples. The deeper layer of stitches brings the deep part of the cut together. These stitches will dissolve and don't need to be removed. The staples in the upper layer are what you see on the cut.

Your child may have a bandage. He or she will need to have the staples removed, usually in 7 to 14 days.

The doctor has checked your child carefully, but problems can develop later. If you notice any problems or new symptoms, get medical treatment right away.

Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child takes.

How can you care for your child at home?

  • Keep the cut dry for the first 24 to 48 hours. After this, your child can shower if your doctor okays it. Pat the cut dry.
  • Don't let your child soak the cut, such as in a bathtub or kiddie pool. Your doctor will tell you when it's safe to get the cut wet.
  • If your doctor told you how to care for your child's cut, follow your doctor's instructions. If you did not get instructions, follow this general advice:
    • After the first 24 to 48 hours, wash around the cut with clean water 2 times a day. Don't use hydrogen peroxide or alcohol, which can slow healing.
    • You may cover the cut with a thin layer of petroleum jelly, such as Vaseline, and a non-stick bandage.
    • Apply more petroleum jelly and replace the bandage as needed.
  • Help your child avoid any activity that could cause the cut to reopen.
  • Do not remove the staples on your own. Your doctor will tell you when to come back to have the staples removed.
  • Give pain medicines exactly as directed.
    • If the doctor gave your child a prescription medicine for pain, give it as prescribed.
    • If your child is not taking a prescription pain medicine, ask your doctor if your child can take an over-the-counter medicine.

When should you call for help?

Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • Your child has new pain, or the pain gets worse.
  • The skin near the cut is cold or pale or changes colour.
  • Your child has tingling, weakness, or numbness near the cut.
  • The cut starts to bleed, and blood soaks through the bandage. Oozing small amounts of blood is normal.
  • Your child has trouble moving the area near the cut.
  • Your child has symptoms of infection, such as:
    • Increased pain, swelling, warmth, or redness around the cut.
    • Red streaks leading from the cut.
    • Pus draining from the cut.
    • A fever.

Watch closely for changes in your child's health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:

  • Your child does not get better as expected.

Where can you learn more?

Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

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