Treating Cuts and Bleeding in Children

Medically Reviewed by Sabrina Felson, MD on February 19, 2024
2 min read
  • Your child is bleeding heavily.
  • The wound is deep.
  • The edges of the wound are gaping.
  • The wound is spurting blood.
  • You can't stop the bleeding after 10 minutes of direct pressure.
  • An object has punctured the skin and is still in the body.
  • The cut involves the eye or the cartilage of the nose or ear.


Cuts and scrapes are common in young children. Usually, parents can treat them at home.

  • The cut is on your child's face.
  • The cut is larger than a half inch, jagged, has dirt in it, isn't healing well, or seems infected.
  • Do not remove an object that has penetrated the body. Put pressure on the wound and call 911.
  • Wash your hands.
  • Clean the wound with lots of cool water. Make sure all dirt and debris are removed.
  • Clean the area around the wound with mild soap and water.
  • Cover the wound with gauze or a clean towel and press down with your palm.
  • If the gauze soaks through, don't remove it. Put another layer of gauze on top.
  • Keep up the pressure for a few minutes after the bleeding stops.
  • Try to elevate the area where the wound is, such as the leg or arm.


  • Apply an antibacterial ointment to the area.
  • If the wound is minor and unlikely to get dirty, let it heal in the open air.
  • If the wound is likely to get dirty because it's on the hands or feet, put on a bandage during the day, and allow it to air dry without the bandage at night. Monitor for signs of infection such as redness or drainage.