Last weekend I had several phone calls about head lacerations. Summer is the season for accidents and it seems the weekends are always the busiest.
Parents are often frantic (as we all can be) when their child falls and you see blood coming from the head and face. Luckily, in most cases there is more blood than one would expect for the size of the injury, as the head is well vascularized and therefore even a small laceration will cause a lot of bleeding.
The first thing to do is to get the child calmed down (and you too) and try and wash the area to really get an idea as to how large the laceration is. The patient who called could not get her child to let her look at her head (which showed that her child was okay if she could put up that much of a fight) so we had the idea of taking her toddler to the shower with the mother and to wash off there. That worked wonderfully and by then both mother and child had calmed down.
Once you can see the cut, try to establish how deep and wide it is, and then see if you can stop the bleeding with pressure to the cut. If it is a scalp wound and you can stop the bleeding and it is not too deep I often do not put a child through stitches as their hair will cover the scar.
That is the antithesis to a facial laceration when we are all concerned about cosmetic appearance and even a smaller cut might get one or two stitches in order to have the best cosmetic result. If in doubt, take your child to the doctor or run them by your pediatrician’s house (that works great for me on weekends) in order to decide if stitches are needed.
Some clean cuts may be closed with a wonderful product called “Dermabond” which is almost like “super glue” for skin. Do NOT use super glue which one of my own children thought about using for an injury while they were at college. Thank goodness they called home first!
Just remember that a lot of blood does not always mean a huge injury.
That’s your daily dose, we’ll chat again tomorrow.