You asked

How can I tell if my toddler’s cut requires stitches?

As a general rule, a wound that is approximately ¼ inch deep or ½ inch long and is open will more than likely need stitches to prevent infection, stop bleeding, and heal properly with minimal scarring. Smaller cuts or wounds on the palms of the hands and fingers may need stitches as well because the skin is tight and may not heal without scarring. Smaller cuts on the face as well, should be checked by a doctor to see if stitches are required to prevent a scar.

Take your child to hospital right away if:

•    Your toddler’s wound will not stop bleeding after applying pressure for about ten minutes
•    The object that caused the wound is rusty or dirty
•    The wound is bite from another child or an animal

In addition to stitches, the doctor may give your child an antibiotic to prevent infection.
Make sure that you keep the stitches clean and dry for a few days, then clean with warm water and soap. You may also be able to use an antibiotic cream if the doctor agrees.
Finally, watch for signs that the stitches have become infected such as a red streak, redness around the stitches, pain, fever, and swollen glands. If any of these are present, take your child back to the doctor for a follow up.

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