Causes of Easy Bruising in Children and How to Help

Children are prone to bruise easily as they fall down often and regularly bump into furniture or into each other. However, spontaneous bruising or bruising that seems large enough for an injury to cause it requires investigation. There are multiple illnesses that can result in easy bruising child – some of these are not serious and temporary, while others may require ongoing treatment. Visit your physician for a correct diagnosis if your kid suffers from easy bruising.

What Causes Easy Bruising in Your Child?

The causes may include the following:

  • Bumps and falls: Toddlers and children are quite active. They run around the house and experiment with everything that comes in their way. Hence, they are prone to falling while playing or running or bumping into things accidentally. This increases their risk to injury, especially to the elbows, shins and knees.
  • Quantity of fat present in the body: The amount of bruising in your child also depends on the percentage of fat present in their body. If there is less amount of fat present in their body, then they are prone to get bruises even when they are hit slightly.
  • Hemophilia: It is one of the reasons for easy bruising child. Hemophilia is a type of inherited disorder of clotting. It is of two main types – hemophilia A (it is most common) and hemophilia B. Hemophilia A is characterized by reduced production of factor VIII that is needed for blood clotting, whereas, hemophilia B is characterized by reduced production of factor IX. Both factors VIII and IX are clotting factors that help the platelets in clumping together to form a clot and stop bleeding from the injured area. Hence, hemophilia is characterized by increased bleeding from the wounds and easy bruising. Hemophilia can be mild or severe.
  • Von Willebrand Disease: This disease is the most common genetic disorder of bleeding that occurs in children. The disease is generally mild. It is characterized by reduced Von Willebrand factor that again helps platelets in clumping together and stops bleeding from a wound.
  • ITP (Idiopathic Thrombocytopenia): ITP is more common in the children of age between 2 and 4 years. It occurs as a result of low platelet count, making your child prone to easy bruising. It may also cause petachiae that are small red dots present on the skin. They occur as a result of bleeding from capillaries (small blood vessels) beneath the skin. ITP remains for a duration of six months or even less and then disappears spontaneously.
  • Deficiency of vitamin K: This is one of the causes of easy bruising child. It is usually present in newborns and toddlers who have not received an injection of vitamin K. The platelet count is affected due to vitamin K deficiency. Hence, don’t forget to get your child a vitamin K shot so as to prevent bleeding disorders.
  • Low levels of vitamin C: Vitamin C is required for healing; hence, if there is a deficiency, your child may suffer from easy bruising. You may also see that the scratches or cuts take a long time to heal in your child.
  • Low platelet levels: Platelets are tiny blood cells that clump together to form a blood clot and stop the bleeding from an injured area. Frequent bruising may occur if the platelet count is low due to some reason or if they degenerate very fast.
  • Leukemia: It is severe type of cancer occurring in children in which the production of normal blood cells is hampered in the bone marrow. This makes the child prone to easy bruising. It usually occurs in the children of age between 2 and 6 years. The bone marrow is filled with immature cells and the production of normal red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets is reduced. Leukemia is more common in children suffering from genetic disorders including Down’s syndrome.
  • Reduced levels of various clotting factors: Clotting factors are proteins present in blood that combine with platelets to form a blood clot at the injured area and stop bleeding. Reduced levels of clotting factors may cause easy bruising child. They may reduce due to various reasons such as infection, birth defects, certain medicines, problems in liver, etc.
  • Child abuse: Child abuse is a common cause of bruising in children. Many children get abused by their friends, relatives or at school. However, they remain quiet about the abuse. As a parent or guardian, it becomes your responsibility to ensure that your kid is safe at home or in school or playground.
  • Other causes: Some other reasons that may cause easy bruising in children include sensitive skin that can turn even a slightest hit into a bruise. The cause could also be a major trauma.

When Does Bruising Indicate an Underlying Illness?

Bruising indicates an underlying illness when it happens suddenly and in association with symptoms including:

  • Sweats/fever
  • Unintentional loss of weight
  • Rash
  • Pain in bone
  • Petachiae (tiny red spots on skin)
  • Enlarged or swollen abdomen (it may be due to swelling of liver or spleen.)
  • Facial or bone abnormalities
  • Hemangiomas (large, red birthmarks)

What Can You Do About the Easy Bruising?

Some causes of easy bruising are quite normal; however, some may be extremely serious. To ensure that your child is protected from the occurrence of bleeding disorders that can be fatal is to take them for regular checkups to a pediatrician. Give your kid a healthy and well balanced diet. If bruises appear without any obvious reason, it is advised to have a blood test. Moreover, you should seek immediate medical attention if there is a history of bleeding disorder in the family.

You can take the following steps to increase the speed of healing of the bruises of your kid:

  • Prepare an ice pack by putting some ice cubes in a bag. Wrap it in a washcloth or towel and put it on the bruise for 10-15 minutes. Don’t apply ice directly to the skin.
  • Keep the bruised area elevated to decrease the blood flow to the area. This will decrease the swelling.
  • If your kid is in lot of pain, talk to their physician about a safe pain-killer.
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