You asked

My toddler often has bruises. Should I be worried?

You would be hard pressed to find a toddler that didn’t have a bruise of some kind but there are certain situations when bruises should concern you.
Most of the time, a bruise is totally harmless. It’s the body’s way of reacting to a bump of the skin. There are hundreds of tiny blood vessels under the skin. When your child bumps into something or falls down, these blood vessels may rupture and leak blood into the tissues. This causes the initial “black and blue” bruise. Within a few days, the bruise will turn a greenish-yellow colour. This indicates that the body is breaking down the blood that leaked into the tissue. Although not pleasant to look at, this colour means that it is healing.
In children, bruises are normally more noticeable because a child’s skin is thinner than adults. When your toddler gets a bruise, you should use ice packs in 15 minute cycles to reduce swelling and pain. Do this several times during the first two days if necessary. You can also administer paracetamol or ibuprofen if your child is in pain.  
When do you know when a bruise is serious? If any of the following are true, seek medical attention.
  • If your toddler takes a bad fall and the bruising is accompanied with other symptoms, you should take them in to be examined.
  • If your toddler has a bruise that is located behind the ear this could indicate a skull fracture.
  • If a bruise does not start to fade within 14 days or your child’s pain lasts for more than 24 hours.
  • If the injured area has a cut or open wound and your child shows signs of infection such as swelling, pus, or fever.
If your child is coming home with bruises and you are at all suspicious as to how they are getting so many bruises, you must investigate for your child’s safety.

More questions

If a cut is too severe to treat at home then it is important to take your child to A&E or to your GP as stitches may be required. Go straight to the A&E if the cut is to an artery or if the bleeding will not stop.
The wound should heal itself in a few days. If the wound is painful, you can take painkillers, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen.
Generally speaking, most cuts and grazes are minor and can be easily treated at home.
There are lots of different dressings for minor burns and scalds. There is no particular dressing that works better than others, the important thing is to keep your burn clean and covered with a dressing.
The severity of a burn is determined by a healthcare professional based on how badly the skin is damaged.
A child’s skin is thinner and more sensitive than that of an adult so a burn can be more serious.
Although a bee sting can be painful, it is usually fairly harmless.
Electric shocks can be serious or minor so how do you know what to do?
Toddlers often get bruises but when should you be concerned?
Accidental poisoning happens when children get their hands on unsuspectingly hazardous items lying around the house. Ensure you thoroughly inspect every room of your house!



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