KidsMD Health Topics

Bruises

  • Overview

    A bruise is a collection of blood underneath the skin that is caused by trauma to an area of the body.

    • Sometimes, enough bleeding occurs that a lump, called a hematoma, also forms.
    • A bruise will usually heal on its own.
    • If your child bruises often; has increased pain, swelling or limited joint movement; may have broken a bone; or has injured or bruised an eye, you should contact your child's physician.

    Children's Center for Healthy Infant Lung Development offers a comprehensive, team-based approach to maximize the growth and development of the lungs.
    Children's Hospital Boston
    300 Longwood Avenue
    Contact Boston Children's Hospital Boston
    Boston MA 02115

     617-355-1900
     fax: 617-730-0373

    Children's unique Infant Follow-up Program tracks children from the time they leave the hospital until they are 3-4 years of age.
    Children's Hospital Boston
    300 Longwood Avenue
    Fegan 10
    Boston MA 02115

     617-355-6622
     fax: 617-730-0252
  • In-Depth

    What is a bruise?

    A bruise is a collection of blood underneath the skin that is caused by trauma to an area of the body. Sometimes, enough bleeding occurs that a lump also forms. This lump is called a hematoma.

    When should I call my child's physician?

    Specific treatment for bruises that require more than minor treatment at home will be determined by your child's physician. In general, call your child's physician if your child:

    • bruises often or has recurring bruises without known trauma or cause
    • has increased pain or swelling
    • is unable to move a joint
    • may have broken a bone
    • has injured or bruised an eye
  • A bruise will usually heal on its own, but here are some general guidelines for treatment:

    • Calm your child and let him or her know that you can help.
    • Apply a cold or ice pack for the first 24 hours after injury to help reduce swelling and discomfort. After one or two days, try warm soaks or a warm bath to help the area feel better.
    • If the bruise or swelling is on the lips or in the mouth, offer your child an ice cube or ice pop to suck on.
    • Avoid massaging the bruised area or putting more pressure on it.
    • If the bruise involves a large area on an arm or a leg, elevate the limb to help reduce swelling.
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