Some of my most traumatizing childhood memories came in the form of my dad, armed with a pair of tweezers, going at whichever of my toes had a sliver from our front porch lodged in it. Come to find out, this could have been a lot less painful if he had used this mom's viral splinter hack for kids, which is both tweezer and pain free! Rather than the old fashioned method of digging and hacking away at the sliver favored by parents of previous generations, all you need to get out those pesky little splinters is a children's oral medicine syringe and a bit of suction.
Claire Bullen-Jones — a mom of two who hails from Wigan, England — recently posted her genius hack for removing splinters on Facebook and the parents of the internet are big fans. In her post, she wrote, "Kids got a splinter? Grab the Calpol box and take out the syringe that comes with it! Make sure it’s clean obviously!"
For those of you not from England, Calpol is a British fever reducer and pain reliever that is administered orally via syringe. It's important to note, though, that the hack isn't Calpol specific — any oral syringe will do.
To make use of Bullen-Jones' technique, simply place the small hole of the syringe on the skin above the splinter and pull the plunger on the syringe, creating suction. The suction will pull the splinter out of the hole without the time and discomfort that comes with the tweezer method.
It is important to remember to pull the syringe quickly to create enough suction, according to Bullen-Jones:
Pain free, no tugging and pulling, and no little ones upset or scared at getting it out! Don’t pull slowly! You need to pull rather quickly! If it’s a stubborn splinter, just do this a couple of times!
Given the viral status of the post, it is safe to say that Bullen-Jones is onto something. Her hack has been shared over 80,000 times on Facebook with users rejoicing over the "clever" idea. One commenter wrote, “We needed this last week." While another one said, “That’s an awesome idea.”
Along with the splinter removal steps, Bullen-Jones explained that her husband Chris was the one who first suggested using the syringe and the family has been making use of his inspiration for years. On her post, Bullen-Jones closed with saying that it "saves so much time, and well worth seeing the kids smile at the end of it rather than red faces and tears!"
If the syringe method isn't for you, there are a number of other techniques for removing a splinter. Mom Junction recommends the needle and tweezer method, as well as using drawing salve or ichthammol ointment to soften the skin around the splinter and make it more exposed for removal. Another popular method is to use baking soda to draw the splinter out. Simply combine baking soda with water to create a paste and smear it over the splinter. Then cover with a bandaid and wait for it to make its way to the surface.
No matter how small in size, splinters are a big deal. They can cause infections and fevers if left untreated, according to HealthyKids.Org. While most splinters can be removed at home, there are some cases that require professional medical treatment. HealthyKids.org urges parents to get their children to the doctor immediately if the splinter is deeply embedded, has a barb, looks infected, or if the child has a fever. Additionally, if parents feel reluctant to attempt to remove the splinter on their own or find that they are unable to do so, there is no shame in referring to a professional.
When your little ones tend to favor bare feet, splinters can be scary stuff. I, for one, am a fan of any hack that saves on pain and suffering. Think twice before you throw out that oral syringe — you may just have another use for it.
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