If you have young children, chances are, they’ve taken a tumble at some point and ended up with a nasty gash. While this is normal child behavior, it can still be scary as a parent. There’s also a good chance your child has or will either require stitches, staples or glue to mend their wound. But what’s the difference among the three?


Typically stitches are used for gaping cuts as the thread and needle sizes can be changed depending on the size of the wound.  If stitches are required, it’s important that they be removed within five to seven days to avoid scars. Many people are worried they will need a plastic surgeon to administer stitches; however, that is usually only suggested if the cut is on the eyelids, nostrils or lips.


While staples may sound scary, they really aren’t that different from stitches. Usually used on scalp lacerations, staples are typically applied quicker than stitches, which can be helpful with a squirmy, scared child. It’s true that staples look hideous, but they will cause no discomfort for your child. Like stitches, it’s important they are removed in a timely manner to avoid scarring.


Most often, glue is used on smaller shallow lacerations in areas of the body where they’re less likely to separate. Glue will never be used on knees, elbows, ankles or around the mouth. Because it can trap infection inside, glue should never be used on “dirty” wounds (such as after a bike wreck). Just like stitches and staples, a wound that has been glued can still result in a scar.

If your child has suffered a laceration serious enough for medical attention, consider taking him or her to Medical City Children’s Urgent Care. Our technicians are highly qualified and will treat your child with the utmost care.

Disclaimer: Patients’ health can vary. Always consult with a medical professional before taking medication, making health-related decisions or deciding if medical advice is right for you or your child.