Bruises in Children: When Do They Need Medical Attention?

child with bruises

Children are naturally curious, energetic, and playful. Because of this, they’re at risk of injuries that can leave bruises. Bruises appear in kids all the time, but many parents and guardians find them distressing, especially if they did not see where their children got them. So, many of us will likely ask: when do they need medical attention? This article will walk you through what you should know about this common condition.

Why Do Bruises Appear?

Almost everyone experiences getting bruised at some point in their life, and it’s especially prevalent in kids who are just starting to master the control of their bodies. Older kids and teenagers often get them through playing or sports. Bruises appear when a person sustains an injury that damages blood vessels under the skin.

As blood leaks out of the vessels after the injury, it may appear as a reddish, blue, purple, or black spot on the skin. Over time, the body will reabsorb this blood, and the bruises will disappear.

What If the Bruises Turn Different Colors?

If you see that the child’s bruise is turning different colors, such as green or yellow, it’s often not a cause for concern. It simply means that it’s at a different stage in the healing process. Typically, this is what happens:

  • The injured area will look swollen and red or purplish. It will be tender, and the site may swell up from the blood pooling up under the tissue.
  • After a few days, the bruise will turn bluish or blackish.
  • The body breaks down the blood cells into bilirubin and biliverdin, which are components that may give off a green or yellow appearance.
  • The bruise will turn light brown and slowly fade over time.

When Should Bruises Go Away?

Bruises in kids tend to heal up quickly, although it may depend on the severity of the bruise. They often disappear after two weeks or even less. 

What Should You Do If a Child Has a Bruise?

If your child gets a bruise, it’s best to remain calm, as they’re often not serious and can heal on their own. You may ease the pain and swelling by applying an ice pack to the affected area for ten minutes. For younger children, it’s best to wrap the ice pack in a towel to protect their more delicate skin. It also helps to elevate the area to reduce swelling.

When Should You Take the Child to a Doctor?

Oftentimes, bruises can heal without the help of doctors. However, there are some cases wherein medical attention is necessary. Call for telemedicine or visit a medical professional if:

  • The bruise is in an unusual location or near the eyes, ears, cheeks, nose, mouth, neck, or torso
  • You suspect their injuries might have caused broken bones
  • The bruise is bigger than expected after the injury
  • The child hit their head
  • They experience severe or persistent pain and swelling under the skin
  • They bruise even without injuries, have frequent bloody noses, or have blood in their urine and stool
  • The bruises appear in newborns or infants
  • You need reassurance for the bruise


Kids get bruises all the time due to injuries that cause small blood vessels to break underneath the skin. Oftentimes, they’re not a cause for concern and can heal on their own after two weeks or so. However, if you suspect that the bruise is serious or is due to other causes, it’s best to call your child’s physician.

If you’re looking for telemedicine in Orlando, FL, Your Kid’s Urgent Care is the place to call. Our friendly professionals will provide quality healthcare to all of our pediatric patients, and we can serve them in person or online in various locations. Contact us today.

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