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Scarring your kids for life: Have you done it yet?

Erin Zammett Ruddy

I have. Two weeks ago Nora got eight stitches right between her eyes—three internal, five external. We all know she’s a high-energy/curious/climbing/limb-risking/fearless 16 month old, but she did this damage with a seemingly-benign cup. We were at my parents’ house for my nephew, Andrew’s, communion party and Nora started playing with a few hard plastic cups she’d found. She has toys with sharper edges so I didn’t think anything of it (and she was sitting still, a rarity). But then she stood up with one in her hand, stumbled, and the bottom of the cup hit the ground and then she hit the edge of the cup with all her force. Ouch. There was hardly any crying but a lot of blood and a deep, open gash.

Nick and I quickly and calmly snuck out of the party, headed to the hospital and within an hour and a half, we were back. Thankfully our hospital has a great pediatric ER, which was empty, and my cousin has a fantastic plastic surgeon on speed dial who was able to meet us there (he arrived in lacrosse shorts and a long-sleeve tee, which somehow made me more confident in his ability). The only part that sucked—and boy did it suck—was when Nora had to be velcroed into a papoose thing so she couldn’t move when they injected two needles full of stuff into her wound and then sewed it up. She screamed the entire time. The doc and I sang The Itsy Bitsy Spider over her howls.

It was pretty traumatic—and I spent plenty of time beating myself up for letting her play with those damn cups—but it was over quickly and Nora went right back to her mischief when we got back to the party. To me, the aftermath is the worst part. My beautiful little baby girl has a giant scar across her face. And something tells me it won’t be the first. At a playdate the day after she had her stitches out, she got another gash directly above the scar (no tears, a lot of blood). But people—including the doc—have been telling me that the scar shouldn’t be noticeable at all eventually. He told me to keep sunscreen on it but didn’t say much else. His general attitude is “Eh, it won’t be an issue.” But I’d love some more specific advice. Because I’d love for her to not have to tell that plastic cup story for the rest of her life.

Clearly, she wasn't too worried about it.

And here she is about to stand up on a barstool. D'oh!

This is a few days post-stitch removal. You can see the red scar in the photo--really not too bad, and hopefully it will get better.

I haven't let her take off this hat since it happened!

Have your kids had stitches? Have you? How are the scars? Any great remedies for lessening the scar? Someone said vitamin E, someone else said keep zinc on it instead of sunscreen. I’d love to hear any and all suggestions!