Common childhood illnesses and wellbeing

Bumps and bruises

Part of growing up

Minor cuts, bumps and bruises are a normal part of growing up. Allowing your child to explore the world around them (with supervision) helps them develop and learn. Most of your toddler's bumps will require no more than a cuddle to make them better. If your child has unexplained bruising or injury you need to find out how this happened.

If it looks like the bump may swell then use a cold flannel (soaking the cloth with cold water) or ice pack (but don't put ice directly onto the skin) to help reduce swelling and to cool the area for at least a few minutes.

If your child has had a bump to the head and it looks serious or symptoms worsen call NHS 111 or a doctor.

If your child is under a year old and has a bump on the head get advice from your GP or go to A&E.

Head injury

One of the signs of a severe head injury is being unusually sleepy, this does not mean you cannot let your child sleep.

You need to get medical attention if:

  • They are vomiting persistently (more than three times).

  • They are complaining it hurts and pain is not relieved by paracetamol or ibuprofen.

  • They are not responding at all or were knocked out by the injury.

  • They have a loss of memory for events five minutes before or after the injury.

If they are tired from what’s happened, or from crying, then it is fine to let them sleep. If you are worried in any way about their drowsiness, then you should wake your child an hour after they go to sleep.

Check that they are okay, and that they are responding normally throughout the night.

Health visitor says

Being a toddler means your child is discovering the world around them. This can result in bumps and bruises. There are things we can do at home which might help (see household accidents).


My child has had a fall.


Check for injuries and treat bumps and bruises. Give them some painkillers and let them rest whilst watching them closely.


Seek immediate help if:

  • they have seriously injured themselves

  • they are unconscious

  • they have difficulty breathing

  • they are having a seizure.

If you are still worried, contact NHS 111. If you cannot get help go straight away to the Accident and Emergency Department.