5 Best Ways To Remove Splinter From A Child’s Skin

Image: iStock


Splinter is a tiny, sharp piece of glass, wood, or other material that can get into the skin. It is bothersome and could be painful for children. Although not problematic, it should be removed to avoid any issues later. Leaving it may cause infections too. Keep reading this MomJunction post to know how to remove a splinter from a child and related information.

How To Remove A Splinter From A Child’s Skin?

There are various ways to remove a splinter from a child. Whichever way you choose, cleaning the area with water and soap is a must. Pat dry the skin using a clean towel. If the splinter is not deep and you can feel or see it in your child’s skin, the following methods can be tried.

1. Tweezer

It is the most common way to remove a splinter. Before using a tweezer or a needle, sterilize it by rubbing alcohol. You can also consider a disposable sterile needle available in a pharmacy. If the splinter is lodged at the tip and is visible, then you may gently pull it with a sanitized tweezer (1).

But if the tip is not visible, you may insert a needle close to the splinter to free it, and then use a tweezer to pull the splinter out. Once the splinter is removed, clean the affected part with alcohol.

The child should be explained the procedure beforehand so that they don’t move, to avoid any injury

2. Tape

It works when the splinter is big or superficial. You may use duct tape or packing tape to cover the area that contains the splinter. Let the splinter stick to the tape and then gently pull the tape. It is a painless method of getting the splinter out from the child’s foot or finger or hand (2).

You may even use glue instead of tape. Once the glue is dried up, you may peel it away.

3. Baking soda

According to a report, soaking the affected area in a mixture of water and baking soda could help. Add a tablespoon of baking soda to a glass of water and soak the affected part twice a day. The splinter would come out by itself (3). This option may be useful if the splinter is on a finger, which can be easily dipped in a glass of water.

4. Drawing Salve method

According to anecdotal evidence, Drawing Salve could help remove splinters. Drawing Salve is an ointment made from a compound called ichthammol. You can purchase the ointment over-the-counter. Apply the ointment to the affected area and then cover it with a bandage. After a day, gently remove the bandage, and you can see the splinter (4).

5. Other ways

Some books suggest using essential oils (such as lavender and tea tree oil), Epsom salt, banana peel, and sliced potato to remove splinters (5) (6) (7) (8). All these tricks are harmless and could be tried.

Care To Take After Removing The Splinter

Once the splinter is removed, follow these tips:

  • The affected area should be washed with water and soap.
  • Pat dry it, apply some antibiotic ointment such as mupirocin, fusidic acid or neomycin, and then cover the area with a bandage.
  • If case there is pain, you may rub ice on the affected area.
  • If bleeding occurs while removing the splinter, then place cotton and apply a bandage on the affected part.

If the child is still troubled, then you should take them to the doctor.

When To See A Doctor?

You need to see a doctor if the splinter does not come out after trying different methods. Also, see a doctor in the following circumstances.

  • When the splinter is large or is stuck too deep within the skin.
  • When the splinter breaks off, and a part is still inside.
  • When the splinter gets into delicate parts (for instance, around the eye) of your child.
  • When there are signs of infection such as redness, too much pain, warmth, swelling, blood or pus coming, and if the child gets a fever.

Based on the wound, your doctor may decide whether or not to give a tetanus shot.

What Happens If You Don’t Remove The Splinter?

Splinters are not dangerous, and they usually come out with the methods tried at home. If not removed, it might result in:

  • Pain and inflammation
  • Increases the risk of infection
  • Chills and fever as a result of bacterial infection

You or the child’s doctor is quite likely to remove the splinter before the occurrence of complications. Splinters are easy to avoid too.

How To Prevent Splinters In Children?

Take care to prevent a child from being hurt from a splinter while playing at home or outdoors.

  • If there is carpentry work happening at home, then keep the child away from the place of work. After the job, clean the room so that there are no small wood fragments on the floor.
  • Vacuum the floor thoroughly in case there is broken glass on it.
  • Make the child wear shoes while playing outdoors.
  • If the child plays with wooden toys, then make sure they are splinter-free and smooth.
  • See to it that your child does not play near thorny plants or bushes.
  • Rough surfaces such as porch railing, doors, windows, and wooden tables should be sand down at the corners.

Irrespective of whether the splinter is tiny or big, it should be removed. In most cases, it can be removed at home, but if you are unsure, then you may take your child to the doctor. This way, there would be no risk of any harm or infections.

Do you have any tips on how to remove a splinter from a child? Do share them in the comment section below.


MomJunction's articles are written after analyzing the research works of expert authors and institutions. Our references consist of resources established by authorities in their respective fields. You can learn more about the authenticity of the information we present in our editorial policy.
The following two tabs change content below.

Dr. Anuradha Bansal

Dr. Anuradha Bansal is a pediatrician and neonatologist working as assistant professor in the Department of Paediatrics at PIMS Jalandhar. She has done her MBBS and MD Pediatrics at GMCH, Chandigarh. Thereafter, she polished her skills as senior resident at MAMC, Delhi. She has also done IAP Fellowship in Neonatology at GMCH, Chandigarh and obtained the membership of the prestigious... more

Dr. Ritika Shah

Dr. Ritika Shah is a dental surgeon with more than seven years of clinical experience across various cities in India. During her clinical practice, pediatric dentistry was her particular area of interest, and she constantly thrived to inculcate the latest advancements in the field of dentistry into her practice. Dr. Shah's deep interest in the well-being of babies and children... more