What are bruises and bruising?

If your child falls over or bumps himself against something, he might get bruises.

Bruising happens when blood from damaged blood vessels builds up under the skin’s surface.

Children get bruises all the time, especially on their shins and other bony bits of their bodies.

For younger children, bruises are common because they’re still learning about balance and coordination and they fall over a lot. They also often like rough-and-tumble play and climbing everything they see!

Older children and teenagers often get bruises from sport.

Bruises are uncommon in young babies who aren’t rolling over or moving around yet.

In very rare cases, bruising is because of an underlying blood disorder, like a problem with the way blood clots in the body.

Some medications can also increase the risk of bruising – for example, aspirin and ibuprofen.

Does your child need to see a doctor about bruises?

No, your child probably doesn’t need to see a doctor about bruising. Bruises are mostly nothing to worry about.

But you should take your child to see your GP if she has bruises that don’t seem related to normal childhood bumps and falls.

For example, you might want to see your GP if:

  • your child seems to bruise more easily than other children
  • your child has bruises all over his body
  • your child also has bleeding from other parts of his body, like nosebleeds
  • you have a family history of blood disorders or abnormal bleeding after surgeries.

Treatment for bruises and bruising

You can ease bruising and pain by immediately applying pressure and an ice pack to the injured area for 10 minutes.

Always wrap ice packs in a napkin or other material – don’t apply ice directly to your child’s skin.

Bruises can take 7-14 days to disappear. They change colour and might seem to get bigger as they heal.