How to Remove a Splinter

An old school problem with no hi-tech app in sight, that sliver of matter sitting just under kiddo’s skin can be a pain. If left alone, most will work their way out, but if it’s too annoying for your guy to ignore here’s the fix.

1. Soak the offending body part in some warm, soapy water. It cleans and softens things up and bubbles make the whole traumatic endeavor more fun.

2. Place a small bag of frozen peas over the area for a few minutes to numb it slightly.

3. Use a new needle that has been cleaned with rubbing alcohol to gently move the skin edge and lift the end of the splinter. IF YOU CAN HIDE THE NEEDLE while you do this by distracting your little one, all the better.

4. Grab the splinter end with a pair of clean tweezers and pull it slowly out of the skin. Slow is important to avoid breakage. There’s nothing worse than pulling out half a splinter.

5. Clean the area (now sans splinter) and cover with a Spiderman band-aid (the most important step).

6. (optional) Place the splinter in a clean piece of tissue or gauze and announce that you are saving it for the Splinter Fairy. Put it under the pillow, etc. Skip this step if you’re likely to forget to retrieve it and leave a quarter later.

Do not try this at home if the splinter is embedded deeply in the skin, if there are multiple pieces, or if you can’t see the whole, unbroken length. In this case, leave it to the professional (your family doc). Better she/he should be the bad guy, anyway.

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Ellen and Rachel are two old friends and “expert” mamas—one a pediatrician and one a family therapist—with fifty years of parenting experience between them.


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