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How to treat bumps and bruises

mom putting a bandaid on her girl's scratch

Key points:

1. Most bruises heal on their own, changing colors from red to green or yellow. Apply cold compresses and anti-inflammatory ointment for pain relief, and keep the child comforted.

2. Contact a doctor if the child experiences a hard head blow with a bruise behind the ears or suspected fractured skull. Also, seek medical advice if pain persists over 24 hours, if movement is affected, or if the bruise appears unusual. Trust instincts and prioritize well-being.


At this stage of development your child’s life involves a lot of movement. Any space is like an amusement park and she is ready to play! Since her gross motor skills continue improving and she won’t stop exploring around, the bumps and bruises will be very common and hard to avoid. Here are a few tips to help you take care of your little one’s inevitable bumps and bruises.

How do I take care of a bump or bruise?

Most bruises are not painful and usually heal with time, on their own. With bruises, bleeding occurs under the skin and therefore there is no risk of infection, but it may require care in the early stages, especially if your little one is in pain. As they heal, bruises change color and are less and less painful. If it’s red it may be more painful to the touch, but as it becomes purple or blue, and finally transitions to become green or yellow, pain will diminish. If your little one is uncomfortable, relieve inflammation with the following steps:

  1. Apply a cold compress, frozen product pack, or an ice bag over the bruise for about 10-15 minutes. At the same time, distract your little one cuddling with her and even telling her a story.
  2. If your little one is still in pain, apply a little anti-inflammatory ointment over the affected area. Ask your doctor for an ointment recommendation, and keep it at home.
  3. If the bruise is large, place a warm cloth over it 48 hours after applying the cold compress.
  4. Bruises heal by themselves in about 2-4 weeks; they’ll go through the entire range of colors as they heal.
  5. Finally, keep in mind that children look towards us after a stumble to see our reaction. Try to remain calm and respond according to the situation. This way, your little one will feel safe and won’t be frightened. The best remedy for any bump or bruise is love; give your little one lots of hugs and kisses.

When should I contact my doctor?

Contact your doctor if your little one hit her head hard, if she fell from a particularly high place, or if the accident was of greater impact. Contact your pediatrician if:

  • The blow to the head has caused a bruise behind the ears or you think your little one might have a fractured skull.
  • If the pain is strong and persists for more than 24 hours, even without touching the affected area.
  • If your child has stopped using the body part where she hit herself and can’t move it.
  • If the bruise seems unusual.

Finally, remember that tumbles are natural and most of the time harmless, so keep calm and trust your instincts to ensure your child’s well-being. Also remember that if the fall caused a scrape, it’s important to clean the area with warm water and then use soap on the area around the cut.

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