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Unintentional injury remains the leading cause of morbidity and mortality for all pediatric age groups after the first postnatal year. Injuries are more frequent during summer months and occur twice as often in boys. Regardless of the mechanism, soft-tissue wounds, including abrasions, punctures, and lacerations, are the most common injuries sustained. Nearly 20% of pediatric emergency department visits are injury-related, and 2% of outpatient office visits are related to wound management. Complications of cutaneous wounds occur in up to 8% of children and include infection, hypertrophic scarring, and functional limitation. The primary goals of wound management are achieving hemostasis, identifying associated injuries, minimizing pain, promoting rapid healing, maximizing cosmesis, and avoiding complications. An understanding of the physiology, pathophysiology, and principles of evaluation and management of soft-tissue injuries is important for all primary care practitioners.

The skin functions primarily as a barrier...

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