First of all, it's important to keep the area clean. Wash the area with soap and water once a day (a bath is fine). Healing occurs more rapidly in a moist environment so apply a lubricant, ideally Polysporin, three times a day until the wound has healed. After two or three weeks, you can switch to vitamin E instead. Light pressure and very gentle wound massage for a few minutes, three or four times a day, can also promote healing. Don't expect the scar to disappear right away. Scars can get thick and hard in the first few months and they may take as much as two years to soften and mature. To prevent long-term scarring, keep the area out of the sun for a full year after the wound has healed.
Dr. Jeremy Friedman is chief of Paediatric Medicine at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. He is an associate professor in the department of Paediatrics at the University of Toronto, is the associate editor of the Canadian Paediatric Society's journal, Paediatrics and Child Health and has co-edited three bestselling books for parents, including the most recent The Toddler Book.