Bruising on the baby


A bruise (hematoma) usually results from blunt trauma, such as bumping into an object. This action causes small blood vessels to burst, so that blood collects under the skin and becomes noticeable by discoloration. There is no injury to the skin. Basically, a bruise is nothing more than a bruise. However, one usually speaks of a bruise if it is a larger or darker bruise.

Also read: Bruise in the child


The causes of bruises are blunt trauma, such as bumping into an object, falling or something similar. Especially with small children, who can move more than babies, bruises or bruises are actually inevitable. However, if babies have a noticeably high number of bruises that cannot be attributed to any apparent trauma, this should be examined by a doctor, as this may be a congenital bleeding disorder.


For the diagnosis of a bruise, no additional diagnostics are usually necessary - it is a visual diagnosis that is particularly clear if the parents report an associated appropriate trauma. If there is a bruise on the head / behind the ear, imaging with a CT or MRI of the skull is often followed to rule out a skull fracture. The attending physician also sometimes carries out an ultrasound examination in order to rule out a build-up of blood in body cavities or to be able to assess the extent of the bleeding.

Concomitant symptoms

A bruise is typically associated with tenderness, sometimes accompanied by swelling. The pain comes about as a result of the accumulation of blood compressing deeper layers of tissue. The typical discoloration of a bruise usually does not appear immediately after the injury, but is often only observed in the baby the next day. If the resulting bruise is accompanied by a fever, this should definitely be checked by a doctor. A bruise can also rarely develop into increasing swelling that appears to be filled with pus, in which case a doctor should also be consulted


The duration of a bruise varies from person to person. It usually passes by until it has completely disappeared a few days to a few weeks. Typically, a bruise goes through various color stages. At first he is deep bluethen he will brownish and finally yellow-green. These different colors are caused by the process of blood breakdown in the tissue. On average, you can say that a bruise has disappeared after 14 days.However, some bruises can be more stubborn.


A bruise does not necessarily require treatment because it can disappears on its own even without therapy. With babies in particular, however, additional measures are often taken in order to understandably reduce the symptoms as little as possible. Subsequent care and distraction of the baby after the triggering situation is often enough so that it quickly recovers from the shock. The only exception is one Cerebral hemorrhage as part of a Traumatic brain injury after a blow or fall on the head, which must definitely be treated surgically.

To prevent subsequent swelling, a Cooling carried out immediately after the causal trauma Provide relief. Therefore, it is best to keep cold compresses in the freezer just in case. Under no circumstances should these be held directly on the skin, but rather be wrapped with a kitchen towel, for example, so that the affected area does not get overcooled / frozen. Cold causes the blood vessels to contract, causing it to become one decreased swelling of the tissue comes.
Also have themselves Ointments with arnica and heparin as ingredients established for treatment. An example of this is the popular one Traumeel ointment With a total of 14 different ingredients that can be used to relieve blunt injuries. Also Leech ointments are sometimes used, which also has a decongestant and anti-inflammatory effect.

For babies older than three months, can also be used for visibly severe complaints Paracetamol pain suppositories be used.

Unnecessary movements of the child should be avoided if possible in the event of a large bruise. Because exercise promotes blood circulation, so that the bruise can enlarge and the swelling can increase.

Bruising in the baby after birth

Bruises that are already present at birth are usually caused by the birth process and are usually on the head. The hematoma can result from the mother's strong pressure, when supporting instruments such as forceps or suction cups have to be used, or from unfavorable proportions between the birth canal and the child's head. As a rule, it is then a so-called Cephalhematoma, So a bruise, or mostly just a swelling on the baby's head. The head hematoma usually resolves within a few weeks of birth without therapeutic intervention. A typical feature of the cephalic hematoma is that it can enlarge in the first 24 hours after birth and feel as a hard structure. Very rarely, ossification of the edge of the bruise can occur.

Read more on the topic: Head hematoma

According to location

Depending on the location and severity of the bruise in the baby, there are other causes and consequences for the further course.

On the head

Particular attention should be paid to bruises on the baby's head. The child should be observed whether they become noticeably tired or vomit after the trauma. If there is a fall on the head or a bump on the head, the child should be prevented from sleeping afterwards, as the child's behavior cannot be adequately observed. To be on the safe side, if you have a hematoma on your head and an observed severe trauma to the head, a doctor should be consultedto get one Skull fracture or a traumatic brain injury (a concussion) to rule out.

On the arm

Bruising on the arm in babies can occur and do not constitute a reason for procurement per sebecause in principle no important structures can be damaged by it. However, a fracture of the arm can also be hidden behind the bruise. If your child shows noticeable signs of pain or no longer uses their arm, this should be clarified by a doctor.

Bruises on the baby's upper arm can make the doctor sit up and take notice if they are bilateral, because they can then have been caused by the child holding on too tightly. The doctor will always clarify this carefully in such cases. So there is no need to worry about being accused of being a bad parent once a baby is bruised.

On the tongue / on the gums

Bruising on the baby's tongue or gums are rare. They are more likely to occur in older children or adults. Since babies initially have no teeth or only a few teeth, the potential for injury is lower. Bruising in the area of ​​the oral cavity can occur, for example, in connection with dental treatment, which, however, is also rather unusual in babies. Often arise while the baby is teething small bruises on the gums where the tooth erupts. The advantage of bruising your tongue or gums is that they are compared to bruising the rest of your body heal faster. However, a bruise, especially on the tongue, can make eating and generally tongue movements uncomfortable.

On / in the eye

A bruise on the eye is also colloquially called violet and is a rather atypical localization a bruise in babies. A bruise can also occur in the eye, this is one Conjunctival bleeding, the through a broken vein in the eye originated. Since the baby, unlike older children, cannot report problems with vision or other complaints, a doctor should always be consulted to be on the safe side. Most of the time, conjunctival hemorrhage is harmless.

The tearing of the eye vessels can also (but not only!) Occur as a typical consequence of the so-called shaking trauma. This is a dreaded form of child abuse that can have far-reaching consequences, including the death of the child. The rapid and powerful back and forth movements of the head caused by shaking, among other things, cause blood vessels in the eye to burst.