Removing a Splinter: Tips for Handling This Painful Condition and a Squirmy Kid

Splinters give me shivers. I not only cringe when remembering my painful run-ins with tiny shards, the memories of having to hold down my terrified child while I attempted to remove a splinter are ever present. But since touchy-feely kids like mine are like magnets to the slivers, it is important to know the best way to remove splinters.

Quick and easy ways to remove a splinter, (and more difficult but necessary ways)

Tape it – So much time spent trying to grab the little shards with my finger nails could have been skipped if only I knew this little trick. Next time I encounter a splinter my first line of defense will be a piece of tape. Place a small piece gently over the tip of the exposed splinter and pull off. Pull in the direction the splinter entered for best results.

Glue it – White glue is another remarkable tip. Spread a little glue over the area, let it dry and then peel off. My girlfriend said this even works well for glass shards.

Tweezers – If that fails, you will need a good pair of tweezers. Dip the tips in rubbing alcohol to sterilize and the grasp the splinter and pull. Add a magnifying glass to help you see exactly what you are grabbing and to be sure you have a solid grasp of as much of the splinter as possible.

Double team – If the splinter either breaks off completely or is entirely embedded under the skin it is time to pull out the big guns. You will need a needle, sterilized with rubbing alcohol, tweezers and a magnifying glass. If you can find another adult to help with this minor surgery that would be best for all involved. The needle is used to gently break the layer of skin that the splinter is under and then used to lift the splinter so that the tweezers can grab it.

Soak it – If your child will not let you near them in order to do any of the above techniques or if you tried and failed, consider soaking the area. Soaking the skin in warm water will help loosen the skin around the splinter making it easier to remove later. Plus soaking in a sudsy tub will clean the area and help prevent infection.

Clean the wound – If you do manage to get the splinter out, wash the area with soap and warm water. Dry thoroughly, add antibiotic ointment and then cover with a band aid.

See a doctor if all the above methods fail and the splinter is very large, broken and painful or is near your child’s eye. 

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