Bruises in children

Contributed by : Ravina Sewani   
Bruises in children

When a part of the body is injured and blood from the damaged capillaries, with no place to go, gets trapped under the skin, forming a red or purplish mark called as a bruise.

When a part of the body is injured and blood from the damaged capillaries, with no place to go, gets trapped under the skin, forming a red or purplish mark called as a bruise. Bruises can happen for many reasons, but most are the result of bumping and banging into things. Fortunately, the mark isn't permanent.

How long do bruises last?

  • Bruises usually fade away in about 2 weeks. Over that time, the bruise changes the colour as the body breaks down and reabsorbs the blood. The colour of the bruise can give you an idea how old it is:
  • When a child first gets a bruise, it is reddish as the blood appears under the skin.
  • Within 1 or 2 days, the haemoglobin changes the colour to bluish-purple or even blackish.
  • After 5 to 10 days, the bruise turns greenish or yellowish.
  • Then, after 10 or 14 days, it turns yellowish-brown or light brown.
  • Finally, after about 2 weeks, the bruise fades away.

Who gets bruises?

Anyone can get a bruise. Some people bruise easily, while others don't. Bruising depends on several things:

  • Toughness of the skin tissue
  • Certain diseases or conditions
  • Whether your child is taking certain medications
  • Elderly people bruise easily as the blood vessels tend to become fragile as people get older

Treating a bruise:

  • Apply a cold compress to your child’s bruise to help slow down the blood that's flowing to the area, which decreases the amount of blood that ends up leaking into the tissues. It also helps keep the inflammation and swelling down. All you have to do is apply cold to your child’s bruise for 15 to 20 minutes every hour for a day or two after the bruise appears.
  • If you are using ice instead of a cold pack, wrap it in a cloth or a towel and place it on the bruise; don't apply the ice directly to the skin.
  • To reduce swelling and bruising, elevate the bruised area above the level of the heart. If the bruise is on your child’s knee, make them lie down on a couch or bed and prop their leg up. This will help prevent the blood from pooling in the area because more of the blood will flow back toward your heart. If your child keeps standing, more blood will flow to his/her bruised knee and the bruise will be larger.

Minor bruises are easily treated, but talk to a doctor if:

  • A bruise isn't improving after 2 weeks.
  • Bruises seem to develop for no known reasons.
  • A bruise is swelling and is very painful for your child.
  • If your child can't move a joint or if they have a broken bone.
  • The bruise is near the eye and your child has difficulty moving his/her eyes or seeing.


Bruises are kind of hard to avoid completely. Make your there are no pointed furniture in the house to limit bruises for your child.

Make them wear protective gear when they are playing sports, riding a bike, inline skating.

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