About bruises and bruising
If your child falls over or bumps themselves against something, they 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 playing rough 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.
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 usually nothing to worry about.
But you should take your child to see your GP if they have bruises that don’t seem related to everyday childhood bumps and falls.
For example, you might want to see your GP if your child:
- seems to bruise more easily than other children
- has bruises all over their body
- has bruises and also bleeding from other parts of their body, like nosebleeds
- has a family history of blood disorders or bleeding after surgeries.
Bruises can sometimes be a sign of bullying in children, bullying in teenagers and abuse. If your child has bruises and other signs that worry you, the first step is gently encouraging your child to talk about what’s going on. Your next steps will depend on what your child tells you.
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.
You can’t prevent all bruises – bumps and falls are a natural part of children’s play and development. But close supervision can prevent some falls in younger children. It’s also important to check and adjust your home environment so it’s safe for your child as they grow and explore.
As your child gets older, appropriate safety gear can prevent some sports injuries, including bruises.