Children usually end up with splinters often because they frequently walk around barefoot and play in and around areas that makes them prone such as backyards, wooden playground equipment and parks.
Close look on splinters
Aside from wooden splinters, other foreign materials that can get under the skin among children include the following:
- Cactus spines
- Fish hooks
- Pencil lead
- BB gun pellets
Most splinters should be removed especially the wooden ones and other organic foreign bodies below the skin. Even if they are not triggering pain, these types of splinters can trigger inflammation, unlike metal and glass which are lifeless. Always bear in mind that all forms of cuts caused by foreign bodies can result to infections.
How to remove splinters
Even though pulling out the splinter the way it went in seems the ideal way to remove it, it is easier said than done. With exceptions for most cases of shallow splinters, simply attempting to tug it out might cause small shards of the splinter to stay behind below the skin.
As for larger splinters, it is ideal to consult a doctor for proper removal which might require cutting the skin along the splinter to ensure that it is completely removed. A doctor should be consulted for the following:
- The splinter should not be easily taken out especially among younger children who could not bear frequent tries at eliminating the splinter.
- The splinter is completely embedded under the skin.
- The splinter is causing significant bleeding
- The child still experiences pain even after the splinter has been removed
- An area where the child had a splinter turns reddened, swollen and drains pus which indicates a secondary bacterial infection.
In case you do attempt to remove a splinter on your own, make sure to utilize sterile technique by washing hands, cleansing the wound and utilizing sterile tweezers or a small needle and ensure that the child can endure the minimal degree of pain during the removal process.
Prevention of splinters
Since splinters are painful and difficult to remove, you can prevent children from getting splinters in the first with the following measures:
- Encourage children to wear socks and shoes even inside the house especially when walking on a wooden deck, playing on wooden playground equipment or in the grass or garden.
- Children should wear actual shoes since they are more likely to wear shoes that they have to tie.
- Inspect wooden decks and wooden playground equipment regularly for deterioration as well as stain and sand areas that might lead to splinters.
- Any broken glass in and around the house should be cleaned right away before anyone walks on or near the area
- Wear gloves when holding wood or working in the garden
- Children should avoid playing with a pellet or BB gun or other non-powder guns particularly without adult supervision