The medical assessment of bruising in suspected child maltreatment cases: A clinical perspective

Source:
Canadian Paediatric Society
Publisher:
Canadian Paediatric Society
Publication date:
02 October 2013

Abstract

Bruises commonly occur in children and are most often the result of a minor accidental injury. However, bruises can also signal an underlying medical illness or an inflicted injury (maltreatment). Although bruising is the most common manifestation of child physical maltreatment, knowing when to be concerned about maltreatment and how to assess bruises in this context can be challenging for clinicians. Based on current literature and published recommendations, this practice point will help clinicians to distinguish between accidental and inflicted bruises, to evaluate and manage bruising in the context of suspected child maltreatment, and to evaluate for an underlying medical predisposition to bruising.