First aid treatment for splinters in children & babies

First aid treatment for splinters in children & babies: A crucial skill for caregivers

Every parent, teacher, or caregiver faces the challenge of dealing with minor injuries like splinters, especially in active children and toddlers. The ability to handle such common incidents effectively ensures the child's comfort and health and complies with best practices in paediatric first aid. In this blog, Rose explores the essential knowledge and techniques for managing splinters in children and babies underpinned by current regulations and best practices.

Importance of first aid for splinters

Splinters are small fragments of wood, glass, metal, or plastic that can easily penetrate young skin during everyday activities. While often considered a minor nuisance, they can lead to infection or more severe complications if not promptly and properly addressed. According to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, small but pointed injuries were among the most frequent accidents involving children in the home environment. Thus, understanding how to remove splinters is a vital component of childcare.

Key definitions and regulations

First aid - The immediate assistance given to any person suffering from either a minor or serious illness or injury, with care provided to preserve life, prevent the condition from worsening, or to promote recovery.

In terms of regulatory frameworks, organisations such as the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) in the UK suggest that childcare providers should have at least one person trained in paediatric first aid present during operating hours. The Care Quality Commission (CQC) further supports these standards, advocating for rigorous first aid training and preparedness.

Managing splinters - Best practices

Initial assessment

  • Calm and reassure - Keeping the child calm is crucial, as distress can complicate the removal process.
  • Examine - Carefully inspect the type and depth of the splinter before attempting removal.

Safe removal

  • Clean - Wash your hands and the affected area with soap and water to prevent infection.
  • Tools - Use sterilised tweezers and a needle. Sterilise by wiping it with an alcohol wipe or boiling it for a few minutes.
  • Technique - Gently pull the splinter at the same angle it entered. For deep splinters, a sterilised needle may be used to gently tease the skin layer covering the splinter.

Post-removal care

  • Clean and protect - After removal, remove the area and apply a mild antiseptic.
  • Monitor - Watch for signs of infection such as redness, swelling, or pus.

Legal and compliance aspects

Under UK regulations, the provision of first aid must comply with the Health and Safety (First-Aid) Regulations 1981, which require employers to ensure adequate and appropriate equipment, facilities, and personnel. While primarily directed at workplaces, these principles equally apply to childcare settings, mandating first aid treatment availability. Compliance ensures children's safety and well-being and aligns with statutory obligations, minimising legal risks.

Recommendations for caregivers and educators

  • Training - Regular first aid training sessions, ideally focused on paediatric first aid.
  • First aid kits - Maintain well-equipped first aid kits that are accessible within all child-centric environments.
  • Policy development - Develop clear policies that outline the steps to be taken when a child sustains an injury such as a splinter.
  • Engagement - Engage children in age-appropriate discussions about the dangers of sharp objects and the importance of reporting injuries to an adult.


While seemingly trivial, managing splinters in children and babies plays a crucial role in safeguarding their health and ensuring compliance with best practices and regulatory standards. Effective training and preparedness can significantly reduce the risk of complications, promoting a safe and nurturing environment for our youngest.

The Mandatory Training Group offers comprehensive paediatric first aid courses to equip caregivers with the knowledge and skills to manage minor injuries effectively. Click here to discover our first aid training courses to ensure you are prepared to handle first aid situations competently and compliantly, ensuring the best care for our children.

Disclaimer: This blog is for informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice. Always seek professional medical assistance in emergency situations.

About the author

Rose Mabiza

Rose has dedicated over 15 years to improving health and social care quality through practice, targeted education and training. Her extensive experience includes working with older adults, individuals with mental health conditions, and people with autism and learning disabilities.

First aid treatment for splinters in children & babies - ComplyPlus™ - The Mandatory Training Group UK -

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