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Laceration, Scalp, Suture Or Staple (Infant/Toddler)

Your child has a cut (laceration) on the scalp. A scalp laceration can cause local redness and swelling. It can also bleed heavily. Your child will require stitches (sutures) or staples to close a deep laceration. Some of the hair around the cut may need to be removed.

Depending on the cause of the laceration and your child’s immunization status, a tetanus shot may be given.

Home Care

Medications: The doctor may prescribe oral or topical antibiotics to prevent infection. Do not stop giving the medication until your child has finished the prescribed course or the doctor tells you to stop. The doctor may also prescribe medications for pain. Follow the doctor’s instructions for giving these medications to your child. Do not give your child aspirin unless told to by the doctor.

General Care:

  • During the first 2 days, you may carefully rinse your child’s hair to remove blood, glass, or dirt particles. After 2 days, you can shampoo your child’s hair normally. Avoid rubbing or scrubbing the cut. Rinse with lukewarm water. And don’t let your child soak his or her head in the tub or go swimming until the stitches or staples have been removed.

  • Change bandages or dressings as directed. Replace any bandage that becomes wet or dirty.

  • Try to keep your child from scratching, rubbing, or picking at the area.

  • Even with proper treatment, an infection can occur. Therefore, check your child’s wound daily for the signs of infection listed below.

  • If a blow to the head caused the laceration, watch for signs of a serious head injury listed below.

Follow Up

as advised by the doctor or our staff.

Special Note To Parents:

Healthcare providers are trained to recognize injuries like this one in young children as a sign of possible abuse. Several healthcare providers may ask questions about how your child was injured. Healthcare providers are required by law to ask you these questions. This is done for protection of the child. Please try to be patient and not take offense.

Get Prompt Medical Attention

if any of the following occurs:

  • Fever greater than 100.4°F (38°C)

  • Wound reopens or bleeds

  • Increasing pain in the wound (nonverbal infants may indicate pain with crying that cannot be soothed)

  • Stitches or staples come apart or fall out before your child’s next doctor appointment

  • Signs of infection, such as warmth, redness, swelling, or foul-smelling drainage from the wound

  • Signs of a serious head injury:

    • Headache that doesn’t go away or gets worse

    • Nausea and vomiting

    • Continued swelling or bruising on head

    • Confusion, dizziness, or any abnormal behavior

    • Dark circles around the eyes (“raccoon eyes”); pupils dilated or unequal in size; vacant stare

    • Unsteadiness, clumsiness, or shaking

    • Blood or clear fluid draining from the ear or nose


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