A while back our toddler had a truly crappy week. She had conjunctivitis, some big fat molars breaking through, and then she got a handful of splinters when she grabbed a wooden rail across the street. There were about a dozen of the little buggers – all tiny and deeply embedded.
After I stopped hyperventilating, I combed the web for solutions. We tried the tweezers and needle routine (dreadful), dabbing glue on the end of any protruding splinters (to pull out the splinter), and soaking the babe’s hand in a mix of Epsom salt and water (to draw out impurities). The babe started running away whenever she saw me approaching with another “solution.”
Out of home remedies, we finally called the doctor. After asking us questions about size, material, and symptoms it turned out that all we could do was wait; that the body would reject the splinters and eventually push them out. They also suggested not bandaging the hand to encourage splinter movement. Infections from splinters apparently are uncommon, especially if your babe’s vaccinations are up to date. But the doctor did tell us to call immediately if any signs of infection (e.g., redness, swelling, pus) cropped up.
Lo and behold it worked. In the first couple of days I checked the babe’s hand every day and thought maybe some of the splinters looked like there were coming out. Next thing I knew I had forgotten about them for a couple of days; when I looked again there were just a few, and then none at all. Apparently, sometimes modern medicine can’t beat watchful waiting.