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Cuts, Scrapes, & Boo Boos

Updated: Sep 15, 2022

Have you ever wondered what to do when your child gets a boo boo that a band-aid won’t fix? Please read to learn the best steps to caring for your child’s cuts, scrapes, and boo boos. Look out for signs of infection and learn about skin care, prevention, and signs of healing.

Health & Safety Tips:
  • In case of emergency please dial 911. This article is not intended to replace medical advice, the intent of this information is to provide a guide for parents and caregivers to care for and assist the healing process of stable and minor cuts and scrapes. Please seek care from your physician for more serious cuts and scrapes.

  • If you are wondering if your child needs immediate medical care for their cut or scrape, check out Kids Health ( for signs to looks out for and know when to call the doctor!

  • Wash your hands with soap and water or hand sanitizer

  • Apply clean gloves if possible

  • Stop the Bleeding: Use a clean dry cloth to apply constant gentle pressure to the damaged skin for 5 minutes

  • Elevate your child’s wounded limb if possible

Steps to Clean & Care for Skin:

For Minor Cuts and Scrapes:

  1. Review Health & Safety Tips

  2. Stop the Bleeding

  3. Rinse with water

  4. Wash with antiseptic soap

  5. Apply antibacterial ointment

  6. Keep it covered with a dry bandage

  7. Clean daily

  8. Monitor for signs of infection

For More Serious Cuts and Scrapes:

  1. Follow the above steps to stop bleeding

  2. Seek medical attention if:

a. There is a large amount of bleeding that doesn’t stop, was caused by an animal

bite, or is spurting blood,

b. The cut or wound is very deep, has something sticking out of it, or cannot get


**If you suspect your child may need stitches or additional care contact your Physician

ideally within 24 hours.**

Signs of Infection:

Signs of infection typically present within the first 24-48 hours following the incident and can include:

  • Pus or cloudy drainage

  • Redness

  • Increase in pain

  • Swelling

  • Fever

Call 911 if your child is not moving or is too weak to stand OR if you think your child is having a life-threatening emergency

Signs of Healing:

Wounds typically heal in stages; the timeline of healing depends on several factors including the size of the cut or scrape.

Stage 1: Usually occurs within a few minutes

  • Formation of blood clot –bleeding stops

  • Scab formation and protects skin

Stage 2: Usually occurs in 2-5 days working to protect against infection

  • Slight swelling, redness or pinkness, tenderness

  • Clear fluid oozing

Stage 3: Usually occurs in 3-4 weeks to rebuild damaged tissue

  • Granulation tissue formation: beefy red appearance of the center of cut or scrape

  • Wound edges grow inward

Stage 4: Can take as long as 2 years to form a scar

  • Area may become itchy

  • Scabs fall off

  • Stretched, red, or shiny appearance


Cleveland Clinic:


Wound Care: How to Care for an Open Wound or Cut

For more details on when to seek medical attention for cuts or scrapes check out The Royal Children's Hospital Melbourne

For more information on signs of infection in cuts and scrapes check out Seattle Children’s

For more detailed information on the healing process of cuts and scrapes please check out Medline Plus


This article was written by Olivia Hall. Olivia is a Doctor of Physical Therapy Student at Hanover College and President of her class. She currently lives in New Mexico but frequently travels and loves to go on hikes with her dog.

Skyrocket Pediatric Therapy Foundation (SPTF) does not provide medical or legal advice or services. SPTF provides general information about developmental disabilities and developmental therapies as a service to the community. The information provided on our website is not a recommendation, referral or endorsement of any resource, therapeutic method, or service provider and does not replace the advice of medical, legal or educational professionals. SPTF has not validated and is not responsible for any information, events, or services provided by third parties. The views and opinions expressed in blogs on our website do not necessarily reflect the views of SPTF.

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