I think splinters are horrid, I really hate getting them let alone prising the things out. As a parent I hate it even more when one of the Little ones gets a splinter, knowing what you are going to have to do to get it out, will it be ok if I just leave it to come out on it's own?? I hate having to be the mean guy and cause them pain, and yes it is always down to me to do the dirty work (Daddy disappears of radar in situations like that, he won't even cut their fingernails incase he hurts them!).
On holiday a couple of weeks ago Little 2 got some splinters. We were staying in a cabin on a farm, the cabin was surrounded by decking, grass and a fence, it was lovely and peaceful, the Little ones were quite happy in such a quiet place and played outside the double doors on the decking making nests from leaves and petals and playing really nicely with each other giving us a bit of time to sit and chat with Granny and Grampy who we were holidaying with.
As it was warm we had the doors open a lot and the girls came and went, I insisted they wore shoes outside as I was worried about splinters from the decking. One morning while I was packing up a picnic the girls went outside and I remember calling to them to make sure they had shoes on, we were all busying around clearing up breakfast and getting ready for a day out so no one was specifically watching the children! I realised 5 minutes later that Little 2 did not have shoes on and made her put some on, later on that evening she complained that her toe was sore and when I looked I saw that my fear had come true.
On her big toe of her left foot she had 4 splinters, one almost a centimetre long from her toenail down to the bottom of her toe and 3 smaller ones to the side of it in a line (it was probably another bigger one that had broken on the way in) they were quite big, it was red and there didn't seem any obvious way to get them out. I couldn't see where they had gone in, she let me have a quick go at trying to get them out with my nail after a long soak in the bath but they were wedged and not going anywhere.
I didn't want to upset her or cause her pain so pondered leaving them there but the skin around them was red and we needed her to be comfortable walking as we had days out planned for the rest of our holiday. Being on holiday we didn't have a needle or tweezers with us (not that I wanted to go down that route, it would have been a 3 man job, one to hold her top half, another to hold her legs/foot and me having to do the job and would have probably scarred her for life) but I did have antiseptic cream and plasters so we stuck that on for the time being.
It was Granny that remembered something they had had for years in their cabinet at home, something Grampy had used a couple of times, a pot of stuff you can put on to draw them out. I was a bit sceptical but had a look on Google and found it, apparently it was something known as Magnesium Sulphate paste (better known as Epson Salts) that can be put on whitlows or boils etc and draws out the infection, apparently it also worked on drawing splinters out.
The following morning I headed to the little town chemist, the lad behind the till looked at me as if I was slightly mad when I asked if they had any drawing paste for splinters and mumbled something before asking the pharmasist, thankfully she new what I meant and I was soon back pot in hand.
For the next few days we slapped on a thick layer of the paste a few times a day and at bedtime and a plaster over the top and hoped for the best, the first morning the redness surrounding the splinters had gone and Little 2 said it didn't hurt anymore so if nothing else it was keeping infection at bay, the following day the splinter had moved closer to the surface and continued to do so but I couldn't get it out yet as the skin was intact over it, without tweezers, a needle and a co-operating toddler it was probably going to have to wait until we got home.
4 days after she had got the splinter (and still using the paste) we were still on holiday visiting relatives, at my aunties house and the girls were playing in the hot tub. When they got out I had a look at Little 2's toe, a miracle the end of the big splinter was sticking out of her toe and I was able to grab it quickly and pull it out with my nails, a quick flick with my nail over the other 3 and a pair of tweezers from my Auntie and the other 3 were out too, no tears, no pain and a smiling toddler who had let me do the whole thing without a whimper, result.
I will definitely be keeping Magnesium Sulphate paste in my medicine cabinet from now on, I thought you all might like to know about this amazing stuff too, it might save a few tears one day.