Treating Bruises in Children

Medically Reviewed by Sabrina Felson, MD on February 19, 2024
1 min read

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

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


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