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Does It Need Stitches

Does it need stitches or Dermabond

Your child runs into the coffee table and busts his lip. There is blood everywhere. Now what? Here’s a little primer on what you need to know.

Rule #1: Stitches or adhesive glue like Dermabond, need to be placed within 12 hours of the injury. Otherwise, closing the wound increases the risk of infection. So, you’ve got to decide before the office opens the next morning.

Rule #2: If you cannot get the bleeding under control, or you can see fat or bone (usually deeper than 1/4 inch), you need to seek medical attention.

Rule #3: Cuts to the eyebrows and lip/skin lines usually need stitches for the best cosmetic result. Since both areas have a definite line, you want the two sides of the wound to have the best chance of finding each other!

Rule #4: Injuries to the mouth and lips bleed like stink, but rarely need stitches. All that blood flow to the area also allows the wounds to heal very quickly.

Rule #5: If the wound is due to a human or cat bite, it needs to be cleaned really well and might require antibiotics. But, these wounds usually do not get stitches.

Rule #6: Wounds that are getting red, tender, or are draining need to be seen by a medical provider.

Rule #7: If your child is up to date on his shots, he probably won’t need another tetanus shot. But, check with your doc to be sure.

Rule #8: Sometimes staples or Dermabond (human superglue substance) can be used instead of stitches. But regardless of which method is used to close a wound, all wounds need to be kept clean.

Rule #9: Stitches and staples need to be removed, but the length of time depends on the location of the injury. The person who places them will give you specific instructions for followup.

Rule #10: Don’t freak out. Your child will do better with a calm parent at the helm!