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.

More questions

If a cut is too severe to treat at home then it is important to take your child to A&E or to your GP as stitches may be required. Go straight to the A&E if the cut is to an artery or if the bleeding will not stop.
The wound should heal itself in a few days. If the wound is painful, you can take painkillers, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen.
Generally speaking, most cuts and grazes are minor and can be easily treated at home.
There are lots of different dressings for minor burns and scalds. There is no particular dressing that works better than others, the important thing is to keep your burn clean and covered with a dressing.
The severity of a burn is determined by a healthcare professional based on how badly the skin is damaged.
A child’s skin is thinner and more sensitive than that of an adult so a burn can be more serious.
Although a bee sting can be painful, it is usually fairly harmless.
Electric shocks can be serious or minor so how do you know what to do?
Toddlers often get bruises but when should you be concerned?
Accidental poisoning happens when children get their hands on unsuspectingly hazardous items lying around the house. Ensure you thoroughly inspect every room of your house!

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