Toddler Stitches 101

STEP 1: Remain calm- We were at the children's museum and Cosette was standing on a little stool playing in the music room. She's such a climber these days and as soon as I saw her starting to slip off backwards I knew immediately it would be a bad fall. She hit the back of her head and bit entirely through her lip. One is the greatest perks of being a nurse is my ability to not freak out when there is blood everywhere.

STEP 2: Call your pediatrician- As a general rule you've got 24 hours to get yourself stitched up. It's natural to panic and want to run to the nearest ER or instacare, you can basically get stitches done anywhere but the quality makes a huge difference in the long run and it's worth it to wait. My pediatrician was on a lunch break and it felt so frustrating to wait longer than five seconds when my child is bleeding but he finally had me email him a picture of the cut and after one look at it told me we'd need a plastic surgeon. I was shocked, it had quit bleeding so quickly I really thought they'd just steri strip it! They referred me to a plastics doctor in Provo and told me I would "be amazed at his work". I thought that was the strangest thing to say, my baby girl is perfect she didn't need "work" done she just needed her lip healed.

STEP 3: Know the details- It's important to consider so many factors with stitches. How did they fall, what cut their face, how long did it take to stop the bleeding, how old are they, where is the cut located, do you need a tetanus shot, antibiotics, etc, etc. When we got to the surgeon's office he was assessing Cosette by trying to get her to growl like a tiger, looking to see if she could use her facial muscles properly. I hadn't even thought to check that. She couldn't make the faces which told him she had bit through the muscle and that he would have to do surgery to reattach it so that she would have her pretty little ability to smile restored. He did the surgery that night (we had to wait 6 hours because I fed her some dang fruit snacks after she fell to get her to stop crying) and after three layers of stitches she was as good as new. Plus I could not even handle the adorable-ness of her toddling around in a teeny hospital gown. Coming out of anesthesia was the worst part of it all but I really was amazed at his "work". The stitches were so beautiful! It made me feel so guilty about taking Winston to instacare for his stitches a couple of years ago but luckily there is a fourth step-

STEP 4: Scar therapy treatment - Mederma scar therapy. This stuff takes several weeks to work but if you're diligent with it boy does it do the job. Amazing the way it's erased Winston's scar although Cosette's stitches were done so much better that she may not even need it.