Children can get a splinter any time because they tend to touch –touch things. They can hold onto rough surfaces or wood, and there! the splinter gets its way into their skin or even flesh. This can cause pain and sometimes lead to infections. It is more worrying if this is your first time handling a child or babysitting. However, you should know that you have the responsibility of making sure that the child is safe and comfortable. So, what do you do when your child has splinter lodged in their skin?
There are a few methods that have been tested and found to be effective. You don’t want to see your child in agony if the open wound is infected.
Keep it sterilized
You should wash your hands clean with warm soapy water. This will help you not introduce disease-causing germs via the wounded spot.
There are many times when you see the splinter sticking out and not deeply lodged in the skin. If this is the case then:
Use the tape
This is one of the gentlest methods that doesn’t even scare the child. Look, just tear a small piece of cello tape and press it gently over the tip of the splinter. Pull it out in the direction the splinter entered the skin. It will stick to the sellotape and come out if it isn’t deeply lodged in the skin.
Use the glue
This is the easiest. Just apply the glue to the splinter tip, let it dry and then pull it out. It won’t even hurt the child, apart from the remote prick the child may feel.
However, if the splinter is deeply lodged in the skin, then:
Use the tweezers to grip the splinter and pull it out in the direction it entered the skin. This should be done gently to avoid hurting the child more. Sterilize the tweezers using rubbing alcohol or any other antiseptic available.
Dig it out
If the splinter is completely lodged in the skin, without any part of it sticking out, then you have no option but to dig for it. Use a sterilized needle to make a small hole around the splinter. Sometimes, the splinter may be too small that you may not be able to see well. Use a magnifying glass in such cases. However, you may need to distract the child a little bit by using a video or playing toys. Lodge the needle under the tip of the splinter and lift it up, hold it using the tweezers and pull it out. While performing this minor ‘surgery’, you may need a partner to assist holding the child and assisting in distracting them.
Treat the injured part
Apply antibiotic ointment to the area once you have removed the splinter. Cover the wounded area with a bandage and monitor any signs of infections such as swelling or redness.
Any other splinter removal alternatives?
Yes, there are. These include taping garlic/raisin/potato/onion to the splinter or using baking soda and water paste. However, these methods require that you leave the splinter in the skin for a while and this increases chances of infections. Seek the services of a pediatrician if the splinter is lodged too deep in the skin.
You can stop the splinter from hurting by
- Numbing the area using an ice pack or ice cube
- Applying antibacterial ointment and bandage once the splinter is out.
When to seek a doctor’s attention
Many of the splinters in children are small and can be easily removed. However, you can seek medical attention if:
- The splinter is close or in the eye of the child
- The splinter breaks off as you try removing it
- You cannot remove the splinter yourself
- The splinter is large
Apart from being vigilant, you can avoid the splinters by:
- Smoothening rough surfaces of places like edges of wooden toys
- Steering the child clear of woodwork places like wood workshops