Skip to main content

Warning notification:Warning

Unfortunately, you are using an outdated browser. Please, upgrade your browser to improve your experience with HSE. The list of supported browsers:

  1. Chrome
  2. Edge
  3. FireFox
  4. Opera
  5. Safari

Cuts and bleeding in children

Many cuts and grazes are minor and can be easily treated at home. Cleaning the wound and covering it with a plaster is usually all that's needed.


Wash your hands before touching the cut or graze to prevent infection.

Minor wounds should start to heal within a few days.

How to clean and cover the wound

If your child has a minor cut:

  1. Wash your hands. Use disposable gloves if you have them to reduce the risk of infection.
  2. Clean the cut - use cool running water.
  3. Check the wound to see if there is an object stuck in it.
  4. If there is no object in the wound, cover the cut with a clean non-fluffy dressing. Use a sterile adhesive dressing or a plaster.

Removing an object in the wound

If there is an object stuck in the wound, such as a piece of glass, do not press on the object to remove it. Press either side of it instead.

If you cannot remove the object or you think that there is a risk of infection, go to one of the following:

Stop the bleeding

If there's a lot of bleeding, apply light pressure to the area using a clean cloth or pad for several minutes. You can use a bandage, towel or handkerchief. If you do not have one, use your fingers. Make sure your fingers are clean.

If possible, raise the injured limb (arm or leg). This will help to stop the bleeding. Do not do this if you think the limb might be broken.

If blood soaks through the pad or dressing, leave it there and put another pad or dressing over the top.

Heavy bleeding

Small wounds do not usually cause serious blood loss.

Urgent advice: Call 112 or 112, go to your nearest hospital emergency department (ED) or go to an injury unit if:

  • you cannot stop the bleeding
  • there's bleeding from an artery

Blood from an artery comes out in spurts with each beat of the heart. It is bright red and is usually hard to control.


Nosebleeds are not usually a sign of anything serious. They're common, particularly in children. Most can be easily treated at home.

You should see your GP if your child is under 2 years old and has a nosebleed.

If your child has a nosebleed:

  1. Get them to sit down.
  2. Tilt their head forwards
  3. Pinch the end of their nose for 10 minutes.

After 10 minutes, check their nose. If their nose is still bleeding, pinch for another 10 minutes.

Go to your GP or nearest emergency department (ED) if the nose continues to bleed.

When to get medical help for your child

Page last reviewed: 10 November 2022
Next review due: 10 November 2025