Bruises in Children: Normal or Child Abuse?

Tomika S. Harris, DNP, MSN, CPNP


J Pediatr Health Care. 2010;24(4):216-221. 

In This Article


Determining the cause of a bruise in a child can be a challenge for health care providers. It is very important for providers to be able to distinguish accidental versus abusive injury to provide for the safety of a child and prevent further injury. A complete history and physical can aid in the diagnosis. In all cases, but especially in cases of suspected abuse, documentation must be objective and complete. Finally, health care providers are mandated to report abuse. Suspected abuse should be reported immediately to local child protective service agencies. Prompt recognition and reporting of abuse is important for the child's safety and well-being.


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