Boo-Boos, Bumps & Bruises

Inevitably they happen to every child, but just what is a bruise? They’re caused by an abrasion to the skin and the trauma damages its tiny blood vessels. As a response to the injury, a raised area of the bump or bruise is a result of the blood leaking from the injured blood vessels into the tissues. Ecchymosis is a purplish, flat bruise that occurs when blood leaks out into the top layers of the skin.

While common, there are things one can do to minimize bruising after injury. Use a cold compress which will reduce the blood flow to the area and limit bleeding into the skin, therefore reducing the size of the bruise. The cold compress will also help decrease the inflammation to the area of the injury and limit swelling.

In addition to the application of a cold compress, it’s helpful to elevate the bruised area above the heart. You’ll decrease the blood flow to the bruised area and the bleeding and swelling will be decreased. Avoid taking certain medications that can contribute to bruising, such as aspirin, Advil or Motrin.

Pressure applied to the area can also help reduce bleeding. But the number one way to avoid bruising is to take the proper safety precautions when doing activities, like wearing a helmet and knee pads when riding a bike.


– Alyssa Marconi, injury prevention intern, Boston Children’s Hospital Trauma Center

Pediatric Health