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Treating Bruises in Children

Bruises are not very common in infants. They're more common on the lower legs and foreheads of toddlers just learning to walk.

Call Doctor If:

  • The bruised area seems very painful, swollen, or infected.
  • Your child has a bruise after a serious accident or head or abdominal injury.
  • Your child has a large number of bruises or unexplained bruises.
  • Your child has a fever.

1. Apply Ice

  • Wrap a cold pack in a towel or washcloth and hold it against the bruise for 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Repeat, but no more than once an hour.
  • Do not hold ice or anything frozen directly against a child's skin.

 

2. Elevate the Area

  • If possible, raise the bruised area above the heart to reduce swelling.

3. Reduce Pain

  • Use infant or child-formula acetaminophen (Tylenol). Don't use ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) because it may prolong bleeding.
  • Follow the dosing instructions on the label.
  • If your child has never taken this medication before, call your pediatrician first.
  • Don't give aspirin to a child under 16.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Roy Benaroch, MD on September 14, 2013

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