How to Remove a Splinter
Berkeley Parents Network >
Advice about Health >
How to Remove a Splinter
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?
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.
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.
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!
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
this page was last updated: Mar 12, 2009
BPN is now a 501(c)(3) non-profit and we are transitioning to a new website during
The opinions and statements expressed on this website
are those of parents who subscribe to the
Berkeley Parents Network.
Disclaimer & Usage for
information about using content on this website.
Copyright © 1996-2015 Berkeley Parents Network