Just a Bruise or Something Else?

toddler bruisesMy 4 year old daughter likes visiting her pediatrician. He's young and cute and she has a big crush on him. I recently learned that she's going to marry him some day.

I like her doctor, too, but I kinda dreaded her well-baby visits when she was younger. My daughter is a total klutz not the most graceful girl. And she's always been very headstrong. In fact, it's rare when her legs are not leopard-like with little bruises from jumping off the slide or wrestling with her brother when I advise against it.

I didn't think it was a big deal until one doctor visit. She had to be around 18 months or so because she was going through a rebellious stage at the time, when the ped noticed not only all the black-and-blues on her knees and shins, but these fingerprint shaped bruises all around her butt and thighs.

Something about the way he asked me about them stopped me in my tracks. "OMG! Is he suggesting that I'm abusing my child!?"


I wasn't doing anything of the sort, of course. And I was pretty certain no one else was, either. I'm really attune to that stuff, and suffice it to say that I'd search out and destroy anyone who ...

So, did I mention my daughter was going through a rebellious stage at the time?

She would not let me bathe her. She would not let me feed her. She would not let me dress her. She would not let me buckle her into her car seat. And she certainly would not let me diaper her. I'm stating the obvious here when I say you cannot clean a poopy bum properly when the toddler is writhing, jumping, and screaming. Sometimes, for health and hygiene's sake, you have to hold her down. Gently if you can, but firmly if necessary. Thus, the teeny bruises from my fingers grabbing her squishy little butt.

The doctor totally understood, of course, and even chuckled. He explained that bruises, scratches and bumps are as common and normal on toddlers as rain in springtime, but that certain types of bruises on certain areas of the body raise a red flag.

These include bruising on infants, unexplained bruises, bruises in unusual places (upper arms, hands, ears, neck, buttocks, etc.), and bruises in specific shapes, like a large bite mark, cigarette burn, or belt mark. All of these could be signs of child abuse. Most times, doctors know how to tell the difference, but not always.

A few moms around CafeMom have shared similar stories of a vigilant doc or day care worker spotting something that turned out to be nothing. But I'm thrilled they're looking. I'll gladly be offended once in a while if it means keeping my little girl safe and healthy.

++Is your toddler covered in bruises? Has anyone ever questioned them -- what happened?

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