How to Remove a Splinter

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Good technique for removing splinters?

July 2004

Does anyone have a technique for removing splinters relatively quickly and/or relatively painlessly? My mom used a sewing needle and tweezers to dig the splinter out and rubbing alcohol to sterilize. It wasn't too pleasant. Is there a better way? David

I'm not clear how old the person with the splinter is, but our pediatrician says that on young ones, a splinter will surface and fall out pretty fast, and it's not worth the anguish of digging it out. trust me
Go to Pasttime Hardware (or similar) and get the sharp-pointed tweezers in a little plastic tube. About an inch and a half long with a SHARP point. I have yet to meet a splinter they can't get out -- and way less painful than digging in with a needle since there's two sides to grip the little thingie and pull it out. Trust me.
Take a piece of scotch or cellophane tape, place it directly on top of the splinter and wait 5 minutes, than peel off the tape. Most times, the splinter ! will adhere to the tape and come off, easily and painlessly. Good luck. Tora

Removing a splinter from a 1-year-old's foot

Sept 2002

Can anyone offer any tips on how to remove a splinter from a 1 year old's foot' I don't know how to do it with him squirming and (probably) screaming. Will it come out on its own if I just ignore it' Thanks! Aimee

Do it while he's asleep. :-)

If you must try it while he's awake, get some help to hold him down, and put ice on the area first, both to numb the skin against your prodding, and to distract the kid (who may become more interested in exploring the properties of ice than in escaping the tweezers).

It usually won't hurt to leave small splinters alone for a couple days, either, unless it looks inflamed or seems to be causing pain. Once in a while they start to work themselves out. Holly

Here is something to try for a splinter, if it hasn't migrated out already. I have used it for a tick and it worked. While your child is immobile (i.e., sleeping), lay your left hand over the splinter and your right hand on top. Have someone else in your family do the same (left hand on your right, right hand on their own left). The more hands, the better. Just layer the hands, stacked on top. This is a ''first aid'' use of Jin Shin Jyutsu. It may take half-an hour so prepare to be comfortable for that time. My friend with the tick had it back out in 40 minutes, but it was only my hands working on the problem. Nori
I wouldn't leave the splinter in the foot, as it can easily get infected (we've had this problem with our child). Soaking the foot before removal (e.g. taking the splinter out right after a bath) can help, but I don't know any way to do it without the child being at least somewhat unhappy. Having one parent hold and distract the child (perhaps reading a book) while the other works on the foot helps a little also. Karen
i almost hesitated to offer this advice without knowing how deep and how large the splinter is. this is what works for me when my kids get small, superficial splinters that are not pull-out- able. there must be a distraction (for my 4 year old, a video works well; for a one-year old, you probably need another adult to talk and make silly noises). laughter is good medicine. i use an ordinary sewing needle sterilized with an alcohol swab. i start at the end closest to the entrance wound and ''break'' the skin by pulling upward (toward the surface) with the tip of the needle. this exposes the splinter. i go as far as it takes to be able to pick the splinter out (sometimes that means the full length of the splinter). then i apply an antibiotic ointment and bandaid if needed. there are no tears shed and the skin heals very quickly. there may be some flinching so hold the foot firmly. the splinter will rarely come out on its own, but if is it teeny tiny and not causing any discomfort, i would be inclined to leave it in. the body might be able to take care of it. if it is large, definitely go to your doctor. Dr. Mom
We have dealt with many splinters in the feet beginning when our daughter was around 1 year. We always wait until late at night when our daughter is in a deep sleep. We use a flashlight and special splinter removal tweezers that we purchased from a beauty supply store. Shoshana
Best solution for splinters: soak in water (E.g. a long bath). Presto! Many splinters, soaked in water, will magically slide out. I don't know if this because the splinter swells or the skin softens. But it works. GF
Re: removing splinter from child's foot. I thought sure someone else would mention this -- hydrogen peroxide will draw things, like splinters, out of the skin. Often, after soaking a minute or two in hydrogen peroxide, a splinter will pop right out of the skin. Plus, it will also draw out any infectious germs. Hospital emergency rooms routinely begin treating any injury by soaking in hydrogen peroxide.

Mom who hates to tweezer out thorns and splinters. Cassandra

I read the 'advice given' pertaining to removing splinters/slivers from young children and felt I must reply. Unfortunately I've become an expert on removing slivers since my toddler daughter was at a day care with redwood chips in the playground and redwood play equipment. I've probably removed over one hundred slivers from her hands and feet in the last year or so.... Anyway, I do not use any chemicals -- we take out the slivers very carefully with a needle and tweezers (and small flashlight) when she's asleep. This has worked incredibly well, she feels no pain, there's no trauma about seeing needles, etc., and she wakes up happy. Robin