Your baby is bleeding -- what should you do?

by Julie Snyder

Bleeding babyYour baby's moving around now. Once kids start crawling, walking and running, they're more likely to get hurt.

Most of these injuries aren't serious, but a fall or other accident might result in bleeding.

"My 22-month-old daughter had never had more than a scrape or bruise until yesterday. She fell and her top tooth went through her bottom lip. The amount of blood that was pouring out scared me," Leanne says.

If something like this happens, what should you do?

What to do when your baby is bleeding

Any time a blood vessel breaks, bleeding occurs. Sometimes it's just a drip; other times it can be quite dramatic and frightening, spurting or pouring out, even when the injury isn't life-threatening.

Apply firm pressure directly to the wound. This action almost always stops the bleeding. When you slow the flow of blood, it allows time for a clot to form and the healing process to begin.

Stop the bleeding

For severe bleeding call 911 or your country's emergency response number. Act quickly if your baby appears to be in shock or has lost consciousness. Raise the part of the body that's bleeding to reduce the blood flow to that area.

✓ Apply firm pressure to the cut with a cloth, bandage or your fingers. Hold into place for five to ten minutes.
✓ If blood soaks through the bandage, place a clean on over the soaked one and continue to hold pressure
✓ Don't take the bandage off to look. Releasing the pressure can loosen the clot and start the bleeding again.

Do not use a tourniquet to stop the bleeding. It can cause permanent damage to an arm or limb. If you're not able to control the bleeding with direct pressure, call 911.

Tend the wound

Once the bleeding stops, you can clean and bandage the wound.

✓ Gently wash the cut with water and pat dry
✓ Bandage the wound (antibiotic ointment may be used)
✓ Change the bandage daily
✓ Watch for signs of infection

If there's an object in the wound

✓ If possible, swab or wash small object out of the wound
✓ Leave a large embedded object in place
✓ Apply firm pressure on either side of the object. If bleeding doesn't stop, call 911.
✓ Lay your child down
✓ If the bleeding stops, gently cover the wound and object with a sterile dressing
✓ Build up the padding around the wound until it is higher than the object
✓ Bandage without pressing on the object
✓ Take your child to the hospital

Caring for the scar

The scar continues to heal and change for over a year. Apply sunscreen or cover the wound with sun-blocking clothing. The pigment in the skin may change if you expose the scar to direct sunlight, making it more obvious.

When to call the doctor

If you baby has any of these symptoms, contact your doctor.

• Bleeding doesn't stop after applying direct pressure for 10 minutes
• It is a deep puncture wound
• The wound is on the hands, face, neck or genitals
• An animal or person bit your baby
• The wounds shows signs of infections such as redness, drainage, increased swelling, worse pain or your baby develops a fever

Have you had a scare when your baby fell or got a cut? Were you able to stop the bleeding at home?

Photo courtesy of iStockphoto.