Wart Treatment and Prevention in Children

Warts are a common condition in children caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV) and typically resolve on their own without treatment. However, if treatment is necessary, it’s important to avoid painful methods such as freezing or cutting, especially for children. According to reports in the medical literature, the first line of treatment options for warts in children includes observation without treatment, a salicylic acid preparation, or occlusion with tape with or without a salicylic acid preparation. It’s important to make sure that any treatment is as painless as possible for children.

Treatment Options for Warts in Children

The most common wart treatments in children include:

  • Observation without treatment: Many warts disappear on their own, and this option allows the body to heal naturally.
  • Salicylic acid: This over-the-counter medication helps remove warts by breaking down the skin cells infected with the virus.
  • Occlusion with tape: Covering the wart with duct tape or a similar material can suffocate the virus and speed up healing.

Preventing the Spread of Warts in Children

To prevent the spread of warts, it’s important to avoid touching them, especially for children who may pick at their warts. Covering the wart with a bandage can be helpful to discourage touching. Nail biting should also be discouraged to prevent warts around the nail bed.

How Children Catch Warts

Common and plantar warts are contagious, but a break in the skin is usually required for the virus to cause an infection. Children can catch the virus from contact with others or from touching contaminated surfaces.


Warts can be effectively managed and prevented from spreading with proper care and treatment. If you have concerns about your child’s condition, contact a healthcare professional.


  • Mansur CP. 2002 Human Papillomaviruses. In: Tyring TK, editor. Mucocutaneous Manifestations of Viral Diseases. New York: Marcel Dekker, Inc. p. 247-294.
  • Smolinski KN, Yan AC, 2005. How and When to Treat Molluscum Contagiosum and Warts in Children. Pediatric Annals 34:3:211-221.
  • Habif TP. 2010. Clinical Dermatology: A Color Guide to Diagnosis and Therapy. 5th edition. Mosby Elevier. P 454-464.
  • What to Do About Warts. In: Harvard Women’s Health Watch. December 2004. p. 6-8.
CPA Testing Image