Scrapes (Abrasions) in Children: Care Instructions

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Your Care Instructions

Scrapes (abrasions) are wounds where the skin has been rubbed or torn off. Most scrapes do not go deep into the skin, but some may remove several layers of skin.

Scrapes usually don't bleed much, but they may ooze pinkish fluid. Scrapes on the head or face may appear worse than they are. They may bleed a lot because of the good blood supply to this area.

Most scrapes heal well and may not need a bandage. They usually heal within 3 to 7 days. A large, deep scrape may take 1 to 2 weeks or longer to heal. A scab may form on some scrapes.

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?

  • If your doctor told you how to care for your child's wound, follow your doctor's instructions. If you did not get instructions, follow this general advice:
    • Wash the scrape with clean water 2 times a day. Don't use hydrogen peroxide or alcohol, which can slow healing.
    • You may cover the scrape 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.
  • Prop up the injured area on a pillow anytime your child sits or lies down during the next 3 days. Try to keep it above the level of your child's heart. This will help reduce swelling.
  • Be safe with medicines. 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 signs of infection, such as:
    • Increased pain, swelling, warmth, or redness around the scrape.
    • Red streaks leading from the scrape.
    • Pus draining from the scrape.
    • A fever.
  • The scrape starts to bleed, and blood soaks through the bandage. Oozing small amounts of blood is normal.

Watch closely for changes in your child's health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if the scrape is not getting better each day.

Where can you learn more?

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

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Current as of: March 20, 2017