A bruise appears when blood vessels under the skin are crushed or broken and the blood escapes into the tissue. The area looks red at first and then turns bluish black. As the escaped blood is broken down and reabsorbed, the area looks greenish-yellow.
Trivial bruises: These are a normal part of life and need no treatment, except perhaps a hug. A cold swab of cotton held over the bruise for half an hour could be soothing.
Not so trivial bruises: If a child has bruised himself badly, you might have to treat him for minor shock too. Get him checked by a doctor too.
Unexplained bruising: Some children bruise more often and faster than others. If your child also bruises easily, check with your doctor. But unless the child also bleeds excessively with every minor scratch, it is unlikely that that the bruising is due to any blood disorder.
Be wary of unexplainable bruises. Damaged knees, shins and elbows and fairly common in childhood, but bruises on backs and buttocks or around the upper arms can suggest somebody is being rough with the child. And a black eye or a bruised face demands an explanation.
A blow on the eye can lead to a fearsome-looking black eye. The eye is seldom damaged, but the swelling will be difficult to handle. It will make effective examination difficult when you take the child to a doctor. Hold a cloth wrung in very cold water or a packet of frozen peas wrapped in a cloth against the swelling for ten minutes. This could reduce the swelling. As the swelling recovers, it will spread towards the nose and cheeks. Do not be surprised if by the time the bruise turns greenish, the nose has lost its original shape.
Try to never let a toddler or baby out of your sight. Carry him along even if you are going to answer the door or the telephone.
Use safety gates at the top and bottom of stairs.
Be careful about
1. Furniture which is not steady enough for a newly standing child to pull himself up on.
2. Swing doors or those with automatic closures may bang or squash a toddler. He cannot time his exit with its swing.