Our two-year-old just had her first wood sliver. We were able to remove most of the wood with a pair of tweezers.

A small amount of dark matter is still visible under the skin. We would prefer not to have to make an incision to clean it out, and I'm sure she'd agree with us. (She was brave, but she was just as happy to reach the end of the tweezer session as we were.)

Is it safe to leave the remainder under the skin? Also, any advice on helping the wound to heal, and on avoiding infection, would be appreciated.

  • Dangerously close to "medical advice", this, which is off-topic. But yeah, if it doesn't get infected it's fine, if not go to a doctor pronto. Commented Jun 3, 2011 at 8:51
  • Hmm. I agree. I'm trying to think of a way to reword the question. Perhaps something more like "weighing the discomfort of the child against the risk of infection". (Suggestions welcome.)
    – TSomKes
    Commented Jun 3, 2011 at 19:56

4 Answers 4


I'd say due to conflicting medical advice given in the other answers to this question, the best bet is to call your ped. My philosophy is that if I'm asking the question on the internet, I should be asking the question to my doctor. My philosophy is also that if the doc/ped doesn't take the question seriously, it's time to find a new doc. We don't have access to your child's chart and any underlying medical conditions, so it's very hard to diagnose a situation sight-unseen.


I personally know someone who had a knuckle of a finger amputated because of a splinter that became infected, so it's no trivial concern. However, he wasn't the most hygienic fellow, and in general our bodies are pretty good about taking care of such things themselves given some basic precautions.

Based on WebMD's first aid page, which my doctor recommended to me, it looks like you can safely leave it in for a few days while soaking the area a couple times a day with water and baking soda to see if it works itself out. The most important thing is to keep it clean, with alcohol and antibiotic ointment. I personally wouldn't incise live skin, leaving that to doctors with training and good local anesthetics, but I have carefully cut into the callous that forms after a few days when the skin around a splinter dies. See your doctor if it gets infected and you aren't able to completely clean it out at that time.


Our pediatrician advised us that you can leave it unless it gets infected. Contrary to the other poster, he indicated that you should NOT soak it. The goal is to dry it out so the surface skin dies and flakes away. Soaking tends to soften the skin and it will take longer for the sliver to work its way out.

You can treat with anti-biotic cream/ointment to prevent infection (many also have topical pain killer which will help ease your mind that you're doing what you can if nothing else).


I had this happen to me when I was a little girl (maybe 6) to the palm of my hand, but I think some of the wood just stayed in.

As you can see I'm still alive and have my hand, but I do look at the little dark spot on my hand and wounder if that peace of wood is still there. Btw, I'm 21 now so I would say don't worry too much about it.

  • Hi, and welcome to Parenting.se. References to support your statements would make this a better answer (this is not a forum but a Q&A site). Otherwise this is just your opinion/experience, and we try to give more substantial answers with some kind of authoritative reference here. Since you're here, please have a look at the site tour and visit the help center for guidance on how to use this site. Again, welcome! Commented Sep 26, 2015 at 1:36

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .