How to Remove a Splinter Without Tweezers

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Summer is, for many kids, the season of no shoes and outdoor play. While this heady combination is the stuff that memories are made of, it can also be a recipe for plenty of splinters. Any parent that’s ever approached a child with a pair of tweezers in hand to remove a dastardly splinter knows that the most likely reaction is a screaming panic; convinced that pulling a splinter out with tweezers will be excruciating, little ones do not take kindly to the very method of removal that’s usually most effective. If a child under your care gets a splinter that they simply will not let you approach with tweezers, here are a few other options that might roust out the sliver of wood without generating more hysterics.

  • Use a Credit Card – For splinters that protrude from the surface of the skin and enter at an angle, sliding the corner of a credit card, driver’s license or a laminated library card can allow you to grasp the end of the splinter that’s not lodged in your child’s skin between the card and your fingernail. Simply grasp the splinter and pull, and your little one will splinter-free in no time. Those of the particularly shallow variety might even be removed by gently flicking the splinter with the corner of the card, but be careful not to use so much force that it snaps the delicate piece of wood in half and buried in her skin. Also, be sure that you thoroughly clean any laminated card with rubbing alcohol to prevent infection stemming from any lingering bacteria on its surface.
  • Tape it Up – Applying a bit of tape over the end of a shallow splinter that isn’t fully embedded in the skin, then pulling in the direction that the splinter is burrowed into the skin can dislodge it painlessly; no tears, and no fuss. Transparent tape might not be quite sticky enough, so opt for a small piece of duct tape if the splinter seems to be firmly embedded. Rather than rooting around with a needle and extracting a piece of wood from your child’s skin, this method allows them to relax and even to see the splinter stuck to the tape. Packing tape is ideal for the task, as it’s a bit sturdier than garden-variety transparent tape but not quite as hearty as that of the duct variety.
  • Baking Soda Paste – Making a thick paste of baking soda and water that’s applied to the skin covering a splinter and bandaging it until morning can help to draw the splinter out. In many cases, you’ll find the tiny invader poking far above the skin’s surface and ready to be removed quickly and painlessly.
  • Hydrogen Peroxide – Soaking the splinter-afflicted area in hydrogen peroxide is another tried-and-true home remedy for drawing the splinter out of the skin without resorting to needles, tweezers and informal, impromptu surgical procedures. Most of the time, a peroxide soak brings a splinter to the surface in a couple of minutes.
  • Glue and Gauze – Apply a healthy drop of white school glue to the area of the skin from which a splinter is protruding, and allow it to dry. When the glue is thoroughly set, peel it off in the direction that the splinter is lodged. More often than not, the splinter will come out easily when the glue is removed. To make removal even easier, apply a small piece of gauze to the drop of glue; this will give you something to hold on to, rather than trying to grasp a tiny bead of glue on a restless little body.
  • Banana Peels – Banana peels might be the weapon of choice for cartoon tricksters, but they’re also rumored to be great at easing splinters from the skin. Cutting a piece of peel large enough to comfortably cover the afflicted area of the skin, then taping the peel down and leave it for ten to fifteen minutes. The enzymes in the peel will help to to draw the splinter out and promote healing for the tiny wound left behind.
  • Distraction – Rather than fighting the Great Splinter Battle, it might be more effective to simply wait until your child is engrossed in her favorite show or sleeping soundly to pull the marauding sliver of wood or glass from her skin. If you’re gentle and she’s a relatively sound sleeper, she’ll be splinter-free and none the wiser when she wakes the next morning.

Whichever method you choose, be sure to treat the area with antibiotic ointment and bandage it securely to prevent a potentially serious infection from taking hold.

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