Cuts and stitches

Pediatrician Alan Nagar, MD, MHA, Emergency Medicine, Children's Hospital Los Angeles, shares advice for treating your child's cuts and how to tell if your child needs stitches
Pediatric First Aid - Cuts and Stitches In Children
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Cuts and stitches

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Trying to decide as a parent if you should bring your child into the emergency department for a cut or laceration is an interesting and very debated topic because every parent has a different impression of that cut. So, for instance, something that may look very, very insignificant and small to me, to a parent might look very large and huge, especially if it's on the face. So, for that reason, my advice would be any cut to the face should be brought to medical attention. Even small wounds like puncture wounds or scrapes sometimes need care right away, which would include just cleaning the wound, stitches, or tissue glue, so we can actually glue some of the lacerations together. But in other body parts, my rule is that if the laceration is bigger than one centimeter or a little bit more than a quarter of an inch, if the wound or cut is bleeding and it's difficult to stop the bleeding, those are the kinds of lacerations that need to be brought into the emergency department so we can determine what kind of treatment can be offered. And the options are many. We sometimes can suture it with stitches. We can sometimes put little adhesive tapes with a special glue; those are called steri-strips. And sometimes we can use a tissue glue. It looks like a clear kind of thick glue where we can put a single layer across the cut, and it heals beautifully over about a one to two week period of time. But, in general, cuts about a centimeter, a little over a quarter of an inch, and those that bleed without stopping readily with pressure should be brought to medical attention.

Pediatrician Alan Nagar, MD, MHA, Emergency Medicine, Children's Hospital Los Angeles, shares advice for treating your child's cuts and how to tell if your child needs stitches

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Alan Nager, MD, MHA

Pediatrician, Emergency Medicine, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles

Dr. Alan Nager is Head of the Division of Emergency and Transport Medicine at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. He is an Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California. Dr. Nager received his undergraduate degree in Public Heath and Child Psychology, his graduate degree in Healthcare Administration, his medical degree from the University of Minnesota Medical School and his training in Pediatric Emergency Medicine at the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh.  He has lectured extensively on a variety of emergency medicine topics, appeared numerous times in the media, and published extensively on topics such as dehydration, trauma, mental health, disaster preparedness, etc. He has also authored a children’s book entitled, Angels in Action: One Day in the Emergency Department.

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