These four bruising signs help rule out physical child abuse

'Green flags' help families seeking care for accidental injuries

A new study into the characteristics of everyday child bruising provides evidence that helps rule out physical abuse, according to paediatricians.

Writing in the Archives of Diseases in Childhood, clinicians from Cardiff University in the UK say their findings, derived from 559 accidental injuries in children under 13, provide an evidence-based guide to help establish the plausibility of explanations for child injuries provided by parents and caregivers.

While previous studies have focused on infrequent and unlikely patterns of bruising in children, the researchers have now compiled a list of unintentional injuries.

The common bruise findings are:

  1. “One and done”: 82% of all incidents result in only one bruise. Three or more bruises is uncommon and more than five from a single incident brings plausibility into question
  2. “Once you cruise, you bruise”: 99% of bruises occur in