CHOC Children's

Minor Cuts, Scrapes, and Skin Wounds

Picture of a father teaching his young son how to ride a bicycle

Children's days are filled with running, jumping, bicycling, sports, and other fun activities that keep them active and "on-the-go" from morning until night. Along with the fun comes an occasional cut, bruise, or tumble. Luckily, most of these injuries are not serious and can be handled with some simple first-aid interventions at home. However, there are times when a physician's care is needed.

Specific treatment for skin wounds and injuries will be determined by your child's physician. In general, call your child's physician for skin injuries that are:

  • bleeding heavily and do not stop after five to 10 minutes of direct pressure.
  • deep or longer than 1/2 inch.
  • located close to the eye.
  • large cuts on the face.
  • caused by a puncture wound or dirty or rusty object.
  • embedded with debris such as dirt, stones, or gravel.
  • ragged or have separated edges.
  • caused by an animal or human bite.
  • excessively painful.
  • showing signs of infection such as increased warmth, redness, swelling, or drainage.

Also call your child's physician if:

  • your child has not had a tetanus vaccination within the past five years, or if you are unsure when your child's last tetanus shot was given.
  • you are concerned about the wound or have any questions.

Listed in the directory below is some additional information about minor cuts, scrapes, and skin wounds, for which we have provided a brief overview.

If you cannot find the information in which you are interested, please visit the Common Childhood Injuries and Poisonings Online Resources page in this Web site for an Internet/World Wide Web address that may contain additional information on that topic.


It is important to remember the health information found on this website is for reference only not intended to replace the advice and guidance of your healthcare provider. Always seek the advice of your physician with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your physician or 911 immediately.

© Children's Hospital of Orange County