When the edges are spread wide apart, bringing them together with stitches will help the healing process and minimize the scarring. One is particularly careful about the face for cosmetic reasons. If you think stitches may be necessary, it's better to contact a doctor sooner rather than later. If you wait too long (more than four to eight hours), the benefits of stitching may be lost, or there may be more scarring. Any deep or dirty cut in a child who hasn't had a tetanus shot in the last five years warrants a booster (normally tetanus boosters are given every 10 years).
Small cuts, scrapes, and abrasions are extremely common and many of them can be taken care of at home. These are often superficial and tend to begin to look better quickly. Cleaning the area and using an over-the-counter antibiotic cream, like neosporin, can help prevent infection. Leaving the area open to the air also helps it to heal, although the psychological benefits of a band-aid in younger children is fine. Watch for signs of infection like increasing redness, warmth and tenderness in the area, drainage of puss-like fluid, or even a fever. Antibiotics by mouth aren't routinely indicated for preventing infection, only for treating it.