Kissing it better: dealing with toddler bumps and bruises

You’ve anchored the furniture, put up gates, and maybe even applied corner protectors to the coffee table. No matter how prepared you are, Baby will eventually fall into their fair share of bumps and bruises throughout the toddler years. Toddlers’ active and curious natures can be bruise-magnets, no matter how careful their parents are.

Watching Baby fall down can be alarming, and some falls are sure to be worse than others, but most toddler tumbles can be treated with nothing more than a kiss, but it’s still important to be prepared in case of an injury that’s a little more serious, just in case. Here are some common toddler injuries, and tips on being prepared to treat them.


Toddlers love to climb, but what goes up must come down, and there may be times when they come down hard! When your child sustains a harder hit, you may notice a bruise forming in the area where they made contact. Bruises appear after a trauma to the body that causes blood vessels just below the skin to break open. Though bruises look painful, and can be tender for a while afterward, they are most often not a reason to worry.

If they fall down and a bruise begins to form, you can always start by scooping them up and kissing it better. Children often respond based on their parent’s reactions, so if they see that you’re remaining calm, they are pretty likely to follow your example, especially for smaller bruises.

For bruises that look more severe, or that your child seems to be especially hurt by, try icing the area with a towel underneath for about 10 minutes at a time. You can try to distract your little one from both the bruise and the ice by sitting down with them to read a couple of books, or to enjoy a snack. Most bruises disappear within a week or two, and change colors as the body begins to reabsorb the blood.


More frightening than the bruise is its injury counterpart – the bump. If your child falls and hits their head, or their knee, it’s not uncommon that a bump will appear. Bumps, or “eggs,” form to protect the body by swelling. Bumps can be painful, and treating the area with ice can reduce swelling. For bumps, it can also be helpful to speak to your child’s doctor about administering pain medicine such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Avoid using aspirin, which is a blood thinner, and should also never be given to children under 19.

Of course, many parents will wonder if a bump on the head might result in a concussion. While the American Academy of Pediatrics says most mild head injuries are not causes for concern, always contact your child’s doctor if your child shows any signs of a concussion. According to the Mayo Clinic, symptoms of concussions in toddlers include:

  • Appearing dazed
  • Listlessness and tiring easily
  • Irritability and crankiness
  • Loss of balance and unsteady walking
  • Crying excessively
  • Change in eating or sleeping patterns
  • Lack of interest in favorite toys

  • Mayo Clinic Staff. “Concussion Symptoms.” Mayo Clinic. Mayo Clinic, April 2 2014. Web.
  • “Head Injury.” HealthyChildren. American Academy of Pediatrics, November 21 2015. Web.
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