The Best Kids Band-Aids & Bandages of 2023
For the past 11 years, we've been on a mission to find the best bandages for babies and kids, ones that stay put through wet and dry adventures, don't cause rashes, are flexible, and don't leave behind a sticky residue.
Our hands-on reviews included both fabric and plastic options, waterproof band-aids, clear, colored, and patterned options, and everything in between! Below we list the top 5 band-aids we found, followed by our in-depth reviews.
|Model and Link to Amazon||Our Rating|
|#1. Nexcare Waterproof Clear|
|#2. Welly Bravery Bandages|
|#3. Band-Aid Water Block|
|#4. Band-Aid Decorated|
|#5. Band-Aid Flexible Fabric|
Playing with outdoor toys and get a boo-boo? Ouch!
As parents, we're always looking for the best way to quickly heal small and big scratches and cuts, and we get easily frustrated by band-aids and bandages that fall off easily, are not water resistant, do a poor job protecting the wound, and leave a gunky sticky residue behind when they're taken off. We're happy to say that we found some really excellent options that are now our go-to bandages for ourselves and our kids!
Note that the term "Band-Aid" is a trademark of Johnson & Johnson, though many people use the terms "Band-Aid", "bandaid" and "bandage" interchangeably.
Full disclosure: Some of these bandages, including the Nextcare and Curad models, were sent to us as free test samples by the manufacturer.
Here are the Best Kids Bandaids of 2023!
1. Nexcare Waterproof Clear Bandages.
Nexcare bandages are the official bandage for USA Swimming and the Tough Mudder competition, showcasing their ability to stay on the skin under the wettest and messiest of circumstances. And this is no joke! In our testing, we found the Nexcare waterproof bandages to be the best at not only staying on the skin (yes, even hairy skin!) in the water, but also at keeping a nice dry seal around the perimeter of the cut to prevent water and bacteria from entering the area. That's because the Nexcare bandages use the amazing 3M Tegaderm material, which by the way is a top-choice for sterile wound dressings at hospitals around the world! All that while maintaining a breathable adhesive and cloth area, and leaving no sticky residue when removed after a couple days of use. We also liked the clear flexible adhesive, which makes the bandage less noticeable while also being super flexible and latex-free. This is a great option for kids and adults with contact allergies to latex rubber, and for parents interested in reducing exposure to latex to minimize allergy development over time.
All these features made this an easy choice for this year's overall best band-aid! Coming in at under 10-cents per bandage, they are a great deal. The only peculiar thing about these bandages, that you'll quickly get used to, is the application. It applies like a typical bandage, but then has a thin outer tape that you peel off after application. This helps seal the bandage on without accidentally peeling back or lifting the edges during application; it also prevents the adhesive edge from curling and sticking to itself. The unique trapezoidal shape of the bandage has rounded corners to help keep it from snagging on clothing, and the shape and flexibility make it excellent for things like fingers, knees, knuckles, and toes! Also recommended by our friends at Consumer Reports, you can check out the Nexcare Waterproof Bandages here.
2. Welly Bravery Bandages.
When kids get a boo-boo they were probably being brave and trying something new or scary, and when they feel and see the boo-boo they need to be even braver! These Bravery Bandages by Welly are designed to make kids wear their cuts and bumps with pride, with their bold patterns, colors, and unique shapes. They also come in a reusable and collectible tin, which is great for reducing waste. All that fun is matched by some serious function. These bandages are latex free and made with a flexible and thin (low profile) polyester fabric. With all the attention surrounding these new bandages, we had to get our hands on them!
We used the Welly bandages for a period of about three months in two households, one with bigger kids (10 and 12) and one with little ones (17 months and 3 years). The tin packages we ordered came with a helpful assortment of 48 various shapes and sizes, ranging from a tiny hydrocolloidal bandage for the face, to a huge bandage suitable for only the biggest boo-boos! There were three things we really loved about these bandages. First, they come individually wrapped in clear wrappers so you can see which pattern you're getting - and your child can choose! Second, they are thinner than most bandages, which means they can conform around the most complex little body parts (like fingers, elbows, and knees!). Third, the adhesive is excellent. It sticks very well while still being able to peel off without too much aggravation. Even better, the adhesive is so great that you can remove them and stick them back on and they'll actually stay on for a reasonable period of time. In wet conditions, like hand washing or a quick shower, they stay put, as long as you cleaned the cut of dirt and oil before putting it on (try a good baby wipe!). Coming in at about 14 cents per bandage, they're not the cheapest or most expensive bandages we've tried, but they're definitely on the more expensive side. Also recommended by our friends at Babygearlab and SheKnows, you can check out the Welly Bravery Bandages here.
3. Band-Aid Water Block Clear Bandages.
These are a close second to the Nexcare and Welly options, and are truly excellent adhesive bandages for babies, adults, and kids. Note that this product contains latex, unlike the Nexcare option, just in case that's something you need to consider. In our testing, we found these Band-Aid Water Block bandages to be quite good at staying on through baths (check out our best baby bath tubs!), showers, and the pool, and also good at keeping the cut dry and clean. The clear adhesive perimeter is very similar to the Nexcare: it is flexible, has a great adhesive that doesn't leave any sticky residue when removed, and has rounded edges to prevent it getting caught on clothing and other things. The only difference is that after 3 days of use, the Nexcare maintained slightly better adhesion.
The other drawback is when putting them on, the clear adhesive sides have a tendency to roll back and stick on themselves, which can make putting them on a pain, at least relative to the Nexcare (which has the stiff perimeter that you peel off after applying the bandage). After trying these out, we came to realize what a great design the Nexcare bandages have, even if they take a bit more time to apply and produce more waste. If you're careful and not easily frustrated by this type of thing, these Band-Aids make an excellent option for active use, with a highly flexible and breathable form factor that does a great job staying put during submersion in water. Overall, these are a great option! Interested? You can check out the Band-Aid Water Block Bandages here.
4. Band-Aid Decorated Adhesive Bandages.
These are super fun and adorable Band-Aid bandages with a ton of different themes. They're available in Thomas and Friends, Barbie, Disney's Frozen, Mickey Mouse, Finding Dory, Hello Kitty, Paw Patrol, and a ton more! These bandages are for babies and kids who will find comfort and fun in seeing their favorite characters taking care of their boo-boo. And there's definitely something to be said for that! The bandages themselves do a decent job. They are not waterproof so do not expect them to sustain adhesion in the shower, bath, pool, or at the beach. They also don't do very well with perspiration or messy play. In other words, they tend to get dirty and peel off much sooner than the Nexcare or Band-Aid Water Block options. They are not Latex-free, so for parents and kids who find issue with that, definitely go with our Nexcare option, above. Overall, these bandages are the basic Band-Aid brand that have withstood the test of time and gained the trust of moms worldwide for high quality, reliability, and comfort. They are a bit easier to remove than the waterproof options above, which is good for kids who will find it a bit painful to get their bandage taken off.
These will basically fall off on their own after a day or so, so it's good for the situations when the cut is little but packs a big emotional punch. These will make kids feel good with their fun characters, and help them forget their boo-boo; and that's enough to help this option climb up to this position on our list, despite the sub-par adhesive performance! A bit more expensive than other options because of the cute designs, coming in at around 15 cents per bandage. Interested? You can check out the Band-Aid Decorated Bandages here.
5. Band-Aid Flexible Fabric Adhesive Bandages.
This is a huge assorted pack of the classic flexible fabric bandages that the Band-Aid company has worked hard to revise and perfect over the past several decades. They were great when we were kids, and even better now. It's a great package to keep in the house or vehicle. The flexible fabric is great for basic cuts and scrapes on the arm and leg, but the adhesive and flexibility isn't great for tougher spots like the knees, elbows, or fingers. For those, use something like the Nexcare waterproof, or Band-Aid Water Block options, which do a great job flexing and staying stuck on in the toughest positions and situations. These flexible fabric Band-Aids do a nice job with a soft breathable adhesive and a quilted pad for the cut itself. The breathability aspect will speed up healing time a bit, and the softness makes it feel nice to the touch when running your hand over it. Of course, these are only good for about a day or so, and then they tend to peel off quite easily unless your child is sedentary or the bandaid is covered with clothing and not on a joint (like a knee or elbow). Did we mention how cheap these are? We found a box of 100 assorted sizes for about 5 cents per bandage, which is hard to beat. Note that these contain latex for parents who need to consider this aspect. Interested? You can check out the Band-Aid Flexible Fabric Bandages here.
6. PATCH Kids Organic Bamboo Hypoallergenic Bandages.
We first became aware of these bandages when Shape magazine featured a very positive review. And there are some great reasons for that - they are hypoallergenic, latex-free, paraben-free, sterile, breathable, renewable and plastic-free, and they are made without irritants or toxins. The bandage itself is made of bamboo fiber, and even the adhesive is mineral-based rather than acrylate (vinyl resins). They are one of the first compostable and environmentally friendly bandages we've seen, and we were excited to give them a shot! Coming in at about 35 cents per bandage, they are also one of the more expensive options on this list; so our question was - are they worth the cost? We tested three varieties of these PATCH bandages, one was the Natural version, one has Coconut Oil, and the third has Aloe Vera. The Natural version is an off-white fabric, the Coconut Oil version is patterned with cute pandas, and the Aloe Vera is a slightly darker skin-color fabric. They also have a Charcoal version that we didn't test, but it's completely black. The Coconut Oil version has a bit of a coconut smell and the pad is infused with coconut oil to help healing; same goes for the Aloe Vera option, minus much of any smell. We loved the concept here, and had big expectations! Some of these were fulfilled, as we really liked the packaging, patterns, textures, and they made us feel good about not filling landfills with more plastics. Our excitement was a little tempered when we used them. The adhesive is simply OK, nothing special, and reminds me of the cheap fabric band-aids my parents used on me as a kid: the edges would fray and curl up a bit over time, and they didn't stick super well. Not ideal for fingers or near joints. They also do not perform well in water - they are certainly not waterproof bandages and shouldn't be used in the bath, shower, pool, or any other swimming. These bandages definitely aren't capable of the type of adhesion and water resistance that you see with a Nexcare or Band-Aid Water Block. But they do have the environmentally friendly aspect, and if that's a priority of yours these may prove perfect for your needs. They do work well with little cuts and scrapes, but you will also be replacing them a lot if you're near water or if your child is more active. Overall, we love the concept of these kids bandages, but the execution does leave a bit to be desired. For those willing to compromise on effectiveness a bit, these could be a great option! Interested? You can check out the PATCH Organic Kids Bandages here.
7. Curad Antibiotic Fabric and Plastic Bandages.
For parents who don't necessarily keep a tube of antibiotic hanging around, but want the peace of mind that the cut is less likely to develop an infection, these bandages might be a great option for you. We keep a box of these at our vacation home and they're great to have in a pinch (no pun intended), for basic cuts and scrapes that need to be quickly treated with some antibiotic and a bandage. The assorted package contains both waterproof and conventional options, and both plastic and fabric options. Some are sheer plastic, which helps with aesthetics a bit. The adhesive on the fabric options wasn't quite as good as the Band-Aid fabric options, but they are pretty decent overall. The plastic ones are flexible and do a nice job staying put, especially the waterproof options. They also do a pretty good job overall with leaving minimal residue. Overall, a good option at a fantastic price, typically around 3 cents per bandage! Interested? You can check out the Curad Antibiotic Fabric and Plastic Bandages here.
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