How to Get a Wooden Splinter Out of a Toddler's Foot

Asian boy hurt his leg
Toddler boy looking at his foot (Image: drpnncpp/iStock/Getty Images)

Because toddlers tend to drag their feet when they walk, rarely watch where they are going and are often without thick-soled shoes, they are prone to splinters in their feet. Aside from some pain and a small risk of infection, most splinters are not cause for alarm and are treatable at home. To make things easier on your and your child, ask another adult to help with removal. Very large wooden splinters require medical attention.

Step 1

Wash your hands and your toddler's foot with soap and water to help prevent infection.

Step 2

Calm your child down and talk to him about the splinter and the removal process so he knows what to expect. Removing a wooden splinter from a toddler's foot is considerably easier if he sits calmly on your lap or on a chair and does not cry or resist.

Step 3

Ask another adult to hold your toddler firmly while you remove the splinter, if necessary. If your child moves around a lot during splinter removal, you may injure the skin on his foot, causing additional pain and increasing the risk of infection.

Step 4

Apply strong tape to the splinter, sticky side down, if at least one end of the splinter is sticking out of the skin and if the rest of the splinter is not embedded too deeply in the foot.

Step 5

Lift the tape quickly, pulling it away from the skin in the direction the exposed splinter piece is facing.

Step 6

Sterilize a pair of tweezers and a needle to remove splinters that are more deeply embedded or that fail to come out with the tape removal method. Wipe the tweezers and needle with a cotton ball soaked in rubbing alcohol to sterilize them.

Step 7

Use the needle to break any thin layer of skin over the splinter, if necessary, so that you can grab it with the tweezers.

Step 8

Grip the splinter as close to the skin as possible with the end of the tweezers and pull it straight out. Do not pull up on the splinter. Doing so may cause it to break off inside the skin.

Step 9

Wash the area again with soap and water once the splinter is removed. Apply antibiotic ointment and cover with an adhesive bandage.

Things You'll Need

  • Antibacterial soap

  • Tape

  • Cotton balls

  • Rubbing alcohol

  • Tweezers

  • Needle

  • Antibiotic ointment

  • Adhesive bandage

Tip

Soaking your toddler's foot before attempting to remove the splinter may help, because it softens the skin and may encourage the wood to move closer to the surface of the skin.

If you are unable to remove the splinter, consult your child's pediatrician for advice. He may want to see your child in his office.

Warning

Do not leave splinters inside your child's skin. They may become infected.

Never attempt to remove a large or deeply embedded splinter at home.

REFERENCES & RESOURCES
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