Children's Health and Wellness

Splinters

What is a splinter?

A splinter is a sharp sliver of wood, glass, or other debris that is lodged underneath the skin. Removal of small, superficial splinters can usually be done at home.

First-aid for splinters

  • Calm you child and let him or her know that you can help.

  • Wash your hands.

  • Clean the area around the splinter with soap and water.

  • Use a sterilized needle or tweezers.

  • If part of the splinter is sticking out of the skin, gently try to pull the splinter out using the sterilized tweezers.

  • If the splinter is close to the surface but underneath the skin, gently prick the skin over the splinter with the needle and try to pull it out using the tweezers.

  • If the splinter is deeply imbedded or you are unable to remove it after one or two  tries, call your child's health care provider.

  • Observe the area for signs of infection such as increased warmth, swelling, redness, drainage, or pain. If you notice any signs of infection, call your child's health care provider. Antibiotics may be needed.

  • If the splinters are very small, painless and superficial, you can leave them alone. Eventually they will make their way out of the skin. 

Online Source: Children's Physician Network. Slivers or splinters; foreign body in the skinhttp://www.cpnonline.org/CRS/CRS/pa_forbskin_hhg.htm
Online Source: American Academy of Pediatrics. Treating cutshttp://www.healthychildren.org/English/health-issues/injuries-emergencies/Pages/Treating-Cuts.aspx?
Online Source: American Academy of Pediatrics. Skin Foreign Body http://www.healthychildren.org/English/tips-tools/Symptom-Checker/Pages/Skin-Foreign-Body.aspx
Online Source: American Academy of Pediatrics. Skin Foreign Body: When to Callhttp://www.healthychildren.org/English/tips-tools/Symptom-Checker/Pages/Skin-Foreign-Body.aspx#when-to-call
Online Editor: Metzger, Geri
Online Medical Reviewer: Gomez, Wanda, RN, PhD
Online Medical Reviewer: newMentor board-certified, academically affiliated clinician
Date Last Reviewed: 4/24/2013
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