Ouch-Free Solutions for Removing Bandaids

Quick tips to weaken the adhesive and soothe the skin

Mother applying band aid on daughter's arm
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For toddlers, every boo-boo feels better when covered with a fun adhesive bandage — however, removing bandaids is another story. Even if you're quick, yanking off a stubbornly-stuck bandage can be painful for kids. Luckily, there's some simple tricks to make removing bandaids a breeze. And the best part: All you need is a little patience and some common household items.  

5 Tips for Removing Bandaids Pain-Free

  1. Create a tab for better control. If you decide to just rip it off quickly, be sure to first peel back one edge of the bandaid. Next, pull parallel to your child's skin. This will encourage the adhesive to release rather than stick to the skin. To ease your child's anxiety, have your little one take a deep breath and then let him know that you're going to pull off the bandaid on the count of three. 
  1. Remove the bandaid after a bath. Giving your child a bath with his bandaid still in tact can both clean the surrounding area and make removal easier. Water weakens the adhesion of the bandage, causing the bandaid to either fall off in the tub or peel off easily once out of the bath. 
  2. Soak a cotton ball or cotton swab in baby oil. Next, gently rub it over the bandage until it falls off. Test to see if it's working by slowly peeling a corner of the bandage. If you don't have baby oil handy, olive oil, petroleum oil or baby shampoo will work, too. Fun tip: Add a little food coloring to the oil and ask your toddler to help you "paint" it on the bandaid. 
  3. Dissolve the adhesive. Dabbing rubbing alcohol on the bandage will slowly dissolve the adhesive and can be used to remove any adhesive remaining on your toddler's skin. 
  4. Freeze the adhesive. Wrap a few ice cubes in a paper towel or thin towel and gently rub over the bandaid. Ice works by making the adhesive brittle, which in turn, makes it easier to pull off of your child's skin. 

    Spotting the Signs of an Adhesive Allergy

    If after wearing an adhesive bandage for a day or two, your little one develops an itchy, red rash in the shape of the adhesive bandage, he may have an adhesive allergy. This reaction is caused by contact dermatitis to the adhesive. 

    The diagnosis of adhesive allergy is made by the use of patch testing, which involves the placement of various chemicals onto the skin, usually held against the skin using a paper tape.

    The chemicals themselves are often contained within a small metal cup, usually smaller than a dime. Patch testing can confirm what is already suspected based on a person's symptoms, but also identify the particular chemical that is causing the contact dermatitis.

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